LABOUR’S shadow communities minister Hilary Benn has accused the government of unfairness in a letter to council leaders that shows that cuts for richer councils are up to 16 times smaller than poorer councils.
Benn’s figures are based on the amount per household that councils are losing between 2010-11 and 2015-16.
Councils covering the ten 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.
Hart district council in Hampshire, the least deprived local authority, is losing £28 per household, while in Liverpool District B, the most deprived area, the figure is £807.
Benn commented: ‘The prime minister and the local government secretary say that tough times involve tough choices, but they have forgotten one very important principle. Tough times demand tough choices that are fair.
‘And yet if we look at the way in which the Tory-led government has chosen to take most from those who have least – the most deprived local authorities – it is clear just how unfair and unjustifiable this is.’
In an open letter to council leaders, he admitted: ‘As we will inherit, and stick to, the government’s spending plans for 2015-16, we will not have any more money to give to local government.
‘But there will be one difference: the money we have will be distributed more fairly.’
Hull council is one of those hit sixteen times harder by the government’s cuts than the ten least deprived areas in the country, it has been claimed.
It was previously thought that families in Hull were ten times worse off than families in the richest councils, however, these revised figures suggest the spending gap is significantly wider than first estimated.
Hull North MP Diana Johnson said: ‘These updated figures show that this government has taken the equivalent of £628 from every household in Hull and given it to the most affluent areas in the Home Counties.
‘It shows what a sham David Cameron’s claim that “we’re all in it together” was.
‘After the global bank crisis, we knew that there would be tough decisions and tight budgets, but all we asked for was a fair deal for Hull.
‘What we got was a coalition government determined to hit the least wealthy people in the most deprived communities the hardest.’
Hull City Council, which is responsible for the tenth most deprived area in the country, is expected to lose £628.09 per family.
Since 2010, central government funding for local authorities has been cut by 40 per cent. As a result, councils will have to reduce their budgets by a total of £20bn by 2015/16.
Government figures show Whitehall has slashed town hall budgets by nearly £800 a household in the ten most deprived areas – all Labour-supporting.
In the ten richest areas, all Tory, cuts average less than £48. Some councils have lost up to a quarter of their cash, leading to drastic cuts in vital services.
Scores of libraries, leisure centres and care homes have closed. Sure Start centres have shut and even lollipop ladies have been fired.