Austin Macauley 04 March 2016

Transition fund carve up leaves Wolverhampton feeling ‘robbed’

Analysis by the BBC has found stark differences in the levels of transition funds being provided to councils across the country.

Richmond-Upon-Thames will receive around £30 a head and is closely followed by Wokingham and Surrey – compared with an average of £5.57 across the country.

Many other local authority areas will not receive any help from the £300m of transitional funding provided by the Government to cushion the blow of long-term cuts, including Wolverhampton.

Its finance spokesman, Cllr Andrew Johnson, told the BBC: ‘Wolverhampton feels robbed not to have received a share of the transition grant.

‘We often compare ourselves to Wokingham which is much wealthier and has been much better treated throughout the austerity cuts.

‘We are the 17th most deprived local authority in the country and Wokingham is 133rd. How can it be fair that people in Wokingham are given the equivalent of nearly £27 each of this money but people in Wolverhampton not a penny?’

Councils that raise more of their own revenue via business rates and council tax have seen the biggest cuts to their revenue support grant, reported the BBC, and the transition funds have been allocated to take account of that.

Richmond’s leader Lord True told the BBC: ‘These figures must be seen in context. We were going to lose just over 48% of our grant overnight. We are still going to end up in the same place with the same loss of money, just on a different trajectory.

‘It is not a question of what we are going to spend the money on. We still have the same decisions to take, we are still looking at eight-figure cuts, but we can move from A to B in a less brutal way for the public.’

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: ‘This long-term funding settlement for councils is fair, and ensures those facing the highest demand for services continue to receive more funding.’

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