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Agenda item

Notice Of Motion Regarding "Opposition to Government Plans To Remove Deprivation and Poverty From Council Funding Formula" - Given By Councillor Olivia Blake And To Be Seconded By Councillor Robert Johnson

That this Council:-

 

(a)       notes that the Government have set out proposals for a new funding formula and further changes to the distribution of business rates, which would mark one of the biggest shake-ups of council funding in living memory;

 

(b)       notes that the proposed changes include the recommendation that grant allocations should no longer be weighted to reflect the higher costs of poverty and deprivation;

 

(c)        believes that this would be disastrous for urban, and predominately Labour-run, authorities and once again mean that poorer areas are bearing the greatest brunt of austerity at the expense of wealthier areas;

 

(d)       notes the condemnation of Leaders of urban councils who have written to Ministers to complain that under the “grossly unfair and illogical” proposals, potentially tens of millions of pounds would be switched to rural and suburban council areas;

 

(e)       notes that, at present, the distribution of revenue resource grants to councils is weighted to support poor areas due to deprivation being acknowledged as a driver of higher than average demand for social care, housing, and other neighbourhood services, as well as recognising that poorer areas are less able to raise taxes locally;

 

(f)        notes, however, the Government’s proposal would remove deprivation from the foundation formula that covers funds for waste disposal, public transport, libraries, leisure, planning, homelessness and recreation, which together amount to about 30% of a council’s budget, with, instead, funding distributed purely on a population basis – with an added weighting for the costs of rurality;

 

(g)       believes that the Government cannot justify how services such as waste collection, street cleaning, homelessness, public transport and libraries are needed solely on the basis of population numbers no matter where people live, and that it is well established and understood that the cost of providing services increases in more deprived areas – due, in part, to extra demand on services and as residents are less able to finance their needs themselves;

 

(h)       notes that Metropolitan districts in England have already suffered the sharpest real terms cuts since 2010 – with, on a nation-wide average, a reduction in revenue spending power of 33.9% compared with county councils seeing a reduction of 22.1% over the same period;

 

(i)         believes that the changes are a shameless attempt by this Government to prop up financially struggling authorities and declining services in Tory heartlands, with an estimated 76% of Conservative MPs representing constituencies covered by county councils, with Government Ministers bowing to pressure from the Conservative-dominated County Councils Network (CCN) to change the grants system - by agreeing with the CCN argument that its members are unfairly allocated less money per head of population than inner-city areas;

 

(j)         notes the recent Centre for Cities report which found that cities have borne nearly three-quarters (74%) of all real-terms local government funding cuts in the last decade despite being home to just 54% of the population - the equivalent to a reduction of £386 per city dweller since 2009/10, compared to £172 per person living elsewhere;

 

(k)        notes that report also stated that this is even much more pronounced in the North of England, with average spending reduced by 20% compared to 9% for those cities in the South West, East of England and South East, excluding London;

 

(l)         further notes that, as outlined by a Sheffield City Council report in January, government spending cuts have impacted most on councils in more deprived areas and yet the Government are, shockingly, looking to make this worse still;

 

(m)      notes that the Government’s proposed changes would be to the serious detriment of urban, economically and socially disadvantaged areas, which also mainly happen to be Labour-run council areas, and believes it is a national scandal that, since 2010, governments have looked after their own affluent communities while leaving struggling communities to bear the greatest cuts; and

 

(n)       believes, quite simply, it is nothing less than naked class war and that like any war, there are casualties: from the homeless to damaged childhoods to women fleeing violence – and that we need a Labour government now more than ever to ensure that these abhorrent and ideological attacks on local authorities like Sheffield cease immediately.

 

Minutes:

7.1

It was formally moved by Councillor Olivia Blake, and formally seconded by Councillor Peter Rippon, that this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes that the Government have set out proposals for a new funding formula and further changes to the distribution of business rates, which would mark one of the biggest shake-ups of council funding in living memory;

 

(b)       notes that the proposed changes include the recommendation that grant allocations should no longer be weighted to reflect the higher costs of poverty and deprivation;

 

(c)        believes that this would be disastrous for urban, and predominately Labour-run, authorities and once again mean that poorer areas are bearing the greatest brunt of austerity at the expense of wealthier areas;

 

(d)       notes the condemnation of Leaders of urban councils who have written to Ministers to complain that under the “grossly unfair and illogical” proposals, potentially tens of millions of pounds would be switched to rural and suburban council areas;

 

 

 

(e)       notes that, at present, the distribution of revenue resource grants to councils is weighted to support poor areas due to deprivation being acknowledged as a driver of higher than average demand for social care, housing, and other neighbourhood services, as well as recognising that poorer areas are less able to raise taxes locally;

 

(f)        notes, however, the Government’s proposal would remove deprivation from the foundation formula that covers funds for waste disposal, public transport, libraries, leisure, planning, homelessness and recreation, which together amount to about 30% of a council’s budget, with, instead, funding distributed purely on a population basis – with an added weighting for the costs of rurality;

 

(g)       believes that the Government cannot justify how services such as waste collection, street cleaning, homelessness, public transport and libraries are needed solely on the basis of population numbers no matter where people live, and that it is well established and understood that the cost of providing services increases in more deprived areas – due, in part, to extra demand on services and as residents are less able to finance their needs themselves;

 

(h)       notes that Metropolitan districts in England have already suffered the sharpest real terms cuts since 2010 – with, on a nation-wide average, a reduction in revenue spending power of 33.9% compared with county councils seeing a reduction of 22.1% over the same period;

 

 

 

(i)         believes that the changes are a shameless attempt by this Government to prop up financially struggling authorities and declining services in Tory heartlands, with an estimated 76% of Conservative MPs representing constituencies covered by county councils, with Government Ministers bowing to pressure from the Conservative-dominated County Councils Network (CCN) to change the grants system - by agreeing with the CCN argument that its members are unfairly allocated less money per head of population than inner-city areas;

 

(j)         notes the recent Centre for Cities report which found that cities have borne nearly three-quarters (74%) of all real-terms local government funding cuts in the last decade despite being home to just 54% of the population - the equivalent to a reduction of £386 per city dweller since 2009/10, compared to £172 per person living elsewhere;

 

 

 

(k)        notes that report also stated that this is even much more pronounced in the North of England, with average spending reduced by 20% compared to 9% for those cities in the South West, East of England and South East, excluding London;

 

(l)         further notes that, as outlined by a Sheffield City Council report in January, government spending cuts have impacted most on councils in more deprived areas and yet the Government are, shockingly, looking to make this worse still;

 

(m)      notes that the Government’s proposed changes would be to the serious detriment of urban, economically and socially disadvantaged areas, which also mainly happen to be Labour-run council areas, and believes it is a national scandal that, since 2010, governments have looked after their own affluent communities while leaving struggling communities to bear the greatest cuts; and

 

(n)       believes, quite simply, it is nothing less than naked class war and that like any war, there are casualties: from the homeless to damaged childhoods to women fleeing violence – and that we need a Labour government now more than ever to ensure that these abhorrent and ideological attacks on local authorities like Sheffield cease immediately.

 

 

7.2

Whereupon, it was formally moved by Councillor Simon Clement-Jones, and formally seconded by Councillor Penny Baker, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraphs (c), (d), (l), (m) and (n); the re-lettering of original paragraphs (e) to (k) as new paragraphs (c) to (i); and the addition of new paragraphs (j) and (k) as follows:-

 

 

 

(j)         believes the Labour-run Sheffield City Council should be reaching out to other local authorities who are concerned about the fairer funding review and encourage them to take part in the ongoing consultation seeking views on the approach to measuring the relative needs and resources of local authorities; and

 

(k)        believes that this Administration is turning this important funding issue into a class-war and does not take into account that this major policy change by the government affects areas across the country, and therefore requires a more cooperative and collaborative approach to lobby central government together to achieve a fairer funding settlement for local government.

 

 

7.3

On being put to the vote, the amendment was negatived.

 

 

7.4

The original Motion was then put to the vote and carried as follows:-

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes that the Government have set out proposals for a new funding formula and further changes to the distribution of business rates, which would mark one of the biggest shake-ups of council funding in living memory;

 

(b)       notes that the proposed changes include the recommendation that grant allocations should no longer be weighted to reflect the higher costs of poverty and deprivation;

 

(c)        believes that this would be disastrous for urban, and predominately Labour-run, authorities and once again mean that poorer areas are bearing the greatest brunt of austerity at the expense of wealthier areas;

 

(d)       notes the condemnation of Leaders of urban councils who have written to Ministers to complain that under the “grossly unfair and illogical” proposals, potentially tens of millions of pounds would be switched to rural and suburban council areas;

 

 

 

(e)       notes that, at present, the distribution of revenue resource grants to councils is weighted to support poor areas due to deprivation being acknowledged as a driver of higher than average demand for social care, housing, and other neighbourhood services, as well as recognising that poorer areas are less able to raise taxes locally;

 

(f)        notes, however, the Government’s proposal would remove deprivation from the foundation formula that covers funds for waste disposal, public transport, libraries, leisure, planning, homelessness and recreation, which together amount to about 30% of a council’s budget, with, instead, funding distributed purely on a population basis – with an added weighting for the costs of rurality;

 

(g)       believes that the Government cannot justify how services such as waste collection, street cleaning, homelessness, public transport and libraries are needed solely on the basis of population numbers no matter where people live, and that it is well established and understood that the cost of providing services increases in more deprived areas – due, in part, to extra demand on services and as residents are less able to finance their needs themselves;

 

 

 

(h)       notes that Metropolitan districts in England have already suffered the sharpest real terms cuts since 2010 – with, on a nation-wide average, a reduction in revenue spending power of 33.9% compared with county councils seeing a reduction of 22.1% over the same period;

 

(i)         believes that the changes are a shameless attempt by this Government to prop up financially struggling authorities and declining services in Tory heartlands, with an estimated 76% of Conservative MPs representing constituencies covered by county councils, with Government Ministers bowing to pressure from the Conservative-dominated County Councils Network (CCN) to change the grants system - by agreeing with the CCN argument that its members are unfairly allocated less money per head of population than inner-city areas;

 

(j)         notes the recent Centre for Cities report which found that cities have borne nearly three-quarters (74%) of all real-terms local government funding cuts in the last decade despite being home to just 54% of the population - the equivalent to a reduction of £386 per city dweller since 2009/10, compared to £172 per person living elsewhere;

 

 

 

(k)        notes that report also stated that this is even much more pronounced in the North of England, with average spending reduced by 20% compared to 9% for those cities in the South West, East of England and South East, excluding London;

 

(l)         further notes that, as outlined by a Sheffield City Council report in January, government spending cuts have impacted most on councils in more deprived areas and yet the Government are, shockingly, looking to make this worse still;

 

 

 

(m)      notes that the Government’s proposed changes would be to the serious detriment of urban, economically and socially disadvantaged areas, which also mainly happen to be Labour-run council areas, and believes it is a national scandal that, since 2010, governments have looked after their own affluent communities while leaving struggling communities to bear the greatest cuts; and

 

(n)       believes, quite simply, it is nothing less than naked class war and that like any war, there are casualties: from the homeless to damaged childhoods to women fleeing violence – and that we need a Labour government now more than ever to ensure that these abhorrent and ideological attacks on local authorities like Sheffield cease immediately.

 

 

 

7.4.1

(NOTE: 1. Councillors Simon Clement-Jones, Bob Pullin, Richard Shaw, Mohammed Mahroof, Joe Otten, Martin Smith, Paul Scriven, Sue Alston, Andrew Sangar, Cliff Woodcraft, Ian Auckland, Sue Auckland, Steve Ayris, Gail Smith, David Baker, Penny Baker, Vickie Priestley and Mike Levery voted for paragraphs (a), (b), (e) to (h) and (j) to (l), and against paragraphs (c), (d), (i), (m) and (n) of the Substantive Motion, and asked for this to be recorded; and

 

 

 

2. Councillors Kaltum Rivers, Douglas Johnson, Robert Murphy, Martin Phipps and Alison Teal voted for paragraphs (a) to (h) and (j) to (m), and abstained from voting on paragraphs (i) and (n) of the Substantive Motion, and asked for this to be recorded.)