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Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski will now not oppose Government as extra £8.5 million funding pledged for Shropshire

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski says he will now not oppose the Government over council funding after it pledged another £8.5 million.

Daniel Kawczynski

The Shrewsbury and Atcham Conservative had threatened to vote against his party for the first time in his career unless it reconsidered the amount offered to Shropshire in its local Government settlement.

However, Mr Kawczynski says that following extensive discussions with the Government he has secured concessions which mean he is prepared to vote in favour of the bill.

The news comes after Shropshire Council's leader Malcolm Pate said that an extra £8.5 million would not be enough to stave off extensive cuts - including the "likely closure" of museums and leisure centres.

However, Mr Kawczynski said that Government had given Councillor Pate "a verbal assurance that next year additional money will be given to Shropshire Council in order to prevent the majority of the cuts that had been envisaged".

He said: "We have crunched the figures and what we believe is this means an additional £8.5 million for Shropshire.

"This is part of the rebellion that forced the Government to realise that some rural authorities are at a real disadvantage when compared to their urban counterparts.

"We have also secured a commitment from the secretary of state that this will be the beginning of an ongoing assessment of the funding rural councils receive.

"For too long it has been tolerated that people in urban area should get more financial support than those in rural areas."

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Mr Kawczynski said the Government had also agreed to appoint Shropshire Council's finance officer, James Walton, to a task force which will review the way funding is split between urban and rural areas, and that Greg Clarke, Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, will visit Shrewsbury in the next three weeks for discussions over future funding.

Last week Councillor Pate visited Westminster as part of a Shropshire delegation to inform the Government that an extra £20 million would be needed each year to prevent the "likely closure" of the county's museums and leisure centres.

Reacting to the latest announcement, he said that without further help the council would still need to consider severe cuts to services.

He said: "While it is a welcome addition to the settlement it would appear in the preliminary assessment that it does not go anywhere near solving our problems - although it will alleviate them."

Councillor Pate said that the shortfall would still leave the council having to make its "red savings", which include proposals to cease all funding for its museums and leisure centres.

He said: "Our preliminary assessment shows that with the extra money after taking off our green and yellow savings it will still leave some of the red savings."

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