Daniel Kawczynski leads MPs in talks with Chancellor over fairer funding for Shropshire
A group of MPs, led by Shrewsbury’s Daniel Kawczynski, were today meeting the Chancellor of the Exchequer to demand a fairer funding deal for the county.
The news comes after Tory Mr Kawczynski and other MPs, including south Shropshire MP Philip Dunne, met Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday afternoon in Mr Kawczynski’s “first ever rebellion” over council funding.
The Shrewsbury & Atcham MP said rural areas like Shropshire receive far less per head of population than cities. He has demanded changes to the formula for allocating grants to local authorities.
He said: “The meeting on Monday went very well, I managed to find 14 Conservative MPs from rural shire counties like ours who were experiencing the same difficulties with their councils and receiving too little money for very important services like adult social care,” said Mr Kawczynski.
“We went in collectively, 14 of us, for a very productive meeting with him and as a result he’s promised to go to the chancellor to ask for money, but we’ve also been advised to go to the chancellor too.
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“After Prime Minister’s Questions we’ve managed to secure a meeting with the chancellor and we’re going to press him as well.
“The message I’ve given is we in the rural parts of the country have suffered for too long and we get far too little in comparison with inner city areas.
“Unless more funding is found for Shropshire then on this occasion I will have no option but to vote against the government.
“It’s not something you do lightly, it’s something you do as a last resort.”
Mr Kawczynski said that he had been in discussions with Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting about the issue.
He said: “I’ve been in intensive discussions with Peter Nutting as in Shrewsbury we have one of the fastest growing populations of senior citizens and adult social care costs are going up by £9 million per annum and the council is just not getting substantially funded.”
Shropshire will see a 39 per cent reduction in core funding over the proposed four year deal set out in 2016, according to the County Councils Network.
This compares to 22 per cent for councils in London, and 28 per cent for urban metropolitan authorities.
The core spending, including council tax, for London areas will be £1,042.27 per head in the next financial year, and £788.03 in metropolitan districts – this compares to £754.03 per head in counties like Shropshire, according to figures from the network.
Mr Dunne added: “I joined Daniel Kawczynski MP, with other MPs representing rural areas, at a meeting late Monday afternoon with Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, to make the case for fairer funding for Shropshire Council and other rural local authorities ahead of the debate next week.”
Telford MP Lucy Allan backs call for fairer deal
Fairer funding would benefit towns with pockets of deprivation as well as rural areas, Telford’s MP said.
Lucy Allan added her voice to her colleagues in calling for the Government to offer a fairer deal to councils within the area.
She said that money should go to where it is most in need.
“All MPs fight hard to get the best deal for their local area, so I wholly understand why rural MPs are campaigning on the problems of rural sparsity,” Ms Allan said.
“Similarly, I have been working with my fellow new town MPs to champion the needs and concerns of new towns and seeking Government support in meeting the challenges we face.”
Ms Allan said if extra funding were available, she would expect some of it to come to Telford.
“To secure Telford’s future I am particularly focused on support for enterprise, skills and connectivity and meeting our infrastructure renewal needs,” she said. “Telford has pockets of significant deprivation and poor health outcomes, relative to our rural neighbours. Taxpayers money needs to be targeted at those most in need.
“If extra money is available for local council funding in our area, I would fully expect that money to come to Telford.”
Ms Allan launched a new all-party parliamentary group aiming to highlight growth opportunities for Britain’s post-war towns.
The group, which is chaired by Ms Allan, will consider the successes and failures of existing new towns in order to learn from past mistakes and to help shape future government policy.