Bridget Phillipson MP asks Chancellor for fair funding deal for north east councils
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson has pressed the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP to give north east councils a fairer funding deal.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Bridget asked the Chancellor if, in the wake of his recent announcement to give cities in the north more power over their economic future, he would reverse the damaging and disproportionate cuts he has imposed on north east councils.
Since the 2010 General Election councils in England have endured the biggest cuts of any part of the public sector.
The Local Government Association has said that over the course of the current Parliament core funding for local government will plummet by 40%, with councils being forced to make £20 billion in savings. The north east has been disproportionately affected by these stringent cuts, which are exacerbated by the fact that demand for services (particularly social services) tends to be greater in the north east where there are higher rates of joblessness and lower than average incomes.
Following the Chancellor’s recent announcement to devolve a large number of powers to Greater Manchester, Bridget took the opportunity at Treasury Questions this week to ask the Chancellor reconsider his attitude towards local government funding in the north east.
Bridget asked the Chancellor:
"Will the Chancellor, as the self-styled champion of the north, now look again at his early decisions and their impact, and will he commit to a fairer funding settlement for north-east councils?"
In response the Chancellor refused to reverse his decision and instead promised only to work with north east councils in the future.
Speaking after Treasury Questions, Bridget said:
“George Osborne is now apparently the ‘Champion of the North’ after his recent announcement on powers to Greater Manchester.
"But when I asked him if he would support a fair deal for north east councils, which has been forced to endure huge and disproportionate year-on-year funding cuts since the 2010 election, he refused to consider it.
"There is no point in promising to work with north east councils if they have no funds to work with.
"Frontline services have already been affected by four years of cuts, and further cuts are planned in the near future.
"If the Chancellor is serious about supporting northern economies then he needs to understand that the north doesn’t end at Manchester or Leeds.
"He should reverse his decision to slash the budgets of Tyne and Wear councils and give them a fairer funding deal.”