Councils in poor areas are being hit worst by the Government’s austerity measures, according to new research by Labour. The figures show that councils covering the 10 most deprived areas of England – measured according to the index of multiple deprivation – are losing £782 on average per household, while authorities covering the richest areas are losing just £48 on average.
Shadow Communities Secretary Hilary Benn, who compiled the data, accused the Coalition of failing to “apply the basic principle of fairness” in its allocation of funding to local government.
Benn confirmed that Labour’s commitment to matching the Government’s spending plans for 2015-16 would mean a Labour led Government would not be in a position to raise overall council spending, but would instead focus on distributing money more fairly.
Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins failed to justify the substantially greater reductions in Government funding as a share of revenue expenditure for councils in the most deprived areas compared to their wealthy counterparts, attacking Labour’s past local government record: “Under Labour, council tax bills more than doubled whilst local services like bin collections halved”.