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Cornwall Council speaks up for its residents with a call out to the Prime Minister for more funding

Cornwall Council has joined up with councils from across the country to call for a fairer funding commitment from the new Prime Minister.

More than 30 leaders from the largest councils have signed an open letter to the Telegraph, urging the Prime Minister to follow up on his promise to ‘level up’ funding - with shire county areas missing out on £3.2bn of funding per year compared to other parts of England.

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The letter follows the early pledges of the new prime minister that focused on levelling up funding in areas such as schools and infrastructure.

Leader of Cornwall Council Julian German said: “Cornwall has faced over £350 million in cuts since 2010. This letter adds weight to the considerable amount of work already put in by Cornwall Council to stand up for Cornwall and its residents. It is vital that we continue to press the government to ensure we get the funding that we need to enhance services for our most vulnerable residents.”

He added: “We also need to make sure Government delivers on its promise that Cornwall will be no worse off in terms of a replacement for European structural funding through the new Shared Prosperity Fund after Brexit; and for Government to give a green light to further devolution of funding and powers to local communities.”

Due to historically lower funding and deeper cuts to core grants, local councils in England's rural and shire counties are the lowest funded authorities; receiving just £240 per person for public services such as social care, children's social services, public health, bin collections and libraries - 60% less than residents in inner London (£601) and 46% less than councils in metropolitan and city authorities (£419).

New analysis from the County Councils Network (CCN) reveals that if the 36 county areas that make up the CCN were funded at the same per person average in England, they would be receiving an additional £3.2bn per year.

In the letter, senior councillors warn that 'if the Prime Minister is to fulfil his pledge to level up opportunity in this country, then we must have a cast iron commitment to fair funding for underfunded and overburdened councils'.

Leaders say that unfair funding has led to a ‘perverse’ situation where some councils have been able to keep council tax rates as low as half of what residents in other counties are being charged. The average county Band D household's yearly bill is £1,562, compared to £700 in some parts of London.

Unless the new Government provides extra resources and a commitment to fairer funding, CCN warns that councils will have to cut back on frontline care services, repairs to potholes, streetlights and youth and Sure Start centres.

The letter adds weight to the recent launch of ‘Britain’s Leading Edge’, a special interest group which brings together a coalition of rural local authorities and MPs to argue the case for equality of consideration in social and economic support in all areas of the country. 

Story posted 19 August 2019