Laura Sharman 22 July 2019

Rural councils call for end to 'systemic bias' in public finance

Rural councils call for end to systemic bias in public finance image

The Government has been urged to end 'systemic bias' when allocating public funding by a new coalition of council chiefs and MPs.

Britain’s Leading Edge, a special interest group being launched today, has warned public funding and investment decisions are being made in favour of the 'policy corridor'.

It claims that this means rural areas without major cities are being denied opportunities being given to England's Core Cities despite contributing the same GVA.

A new report by the group also identifies 'cold spots' for household income growth for the six million people living in peripheral rural areas.

Cllr Adam Paynter, deputy leader of Cornwall Council said: 'Now more than ever, Britain’s Leading Edge needs to be a strong voice for the rural areas we represent as the next Government finalises its plans for a Shared Prosperity Fund and on the commitments made by Government towards rural communities and businesses.

'For too long the "policy corridor" has excluded broad swathes of the country from fair access to opportunity. Britain’s Leading Edge will work to give areas that provide vital - but often neglected regional resilience - to the wider nation, fuller access to opportunities to thrive from industrial and devolution policy and public service reform.'

The report argues government measures of value should take more account of natural capital.

The twelve founding members of Britain’s Leading Edge comprise: Cornwall Council; Cumbria County Council; Dorset Council; Durham County Council; East Riding of Yorkshire Council; Herefordshire Council; Council of the Isles of Scilly; Isle of Wight Council; Lincolnshire County Council; North Yorkshire County Council; Rutland County Council; Shropshire Council.

PWLB hike: A rise too far? image

PWLB hike: A rise too far?

What impact will the increase to the Public Works Loan Board rate have on councils’ housing and other capital schemes? Neil Merrick investigates.
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