MP de­mands fair fund­ing for town

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

MP Tony Lloyd has called on the gov­ern­ment to en­sure Rochdale ‘gets the same ad­van­tages as Sur­rey.’

Speak­ing in a de­bate in Par­lia­ment on the gov­ern­ment’s new ‘fair fund­ing re­view’ for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, Mr Lloyd said the £176m slashed from Rochdale’s coun­cil’s bud­get in re­cent years has ‘had a real im­pact on chil­dren’s ser­vices and adult so­cial ser­vices.’

But Mr Lloyd told Rochdale-born Sa­jid Javid, the Sec­re­tary of State for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, that his home-town’s ‘ca­pac­ity to raise new money by in­creas­ing coun­cil tax is not any­thing like as sig­nif­i­cant as it is in places like Sur­rey,’ adding: “Will the Sec­re­tary of State tell the House whether, un­der his fair fund­ing re­view, the Rochdales will end up in the same ad­van­ta­geous po­si­tions as the Sur­reys?”

Mr Javid replied: “[Mr Lloyd] will un­der­stand that the pur­pose of the re­view is that it is based on ev­i­dence and I am not go­ing to pre-empt that. We will take our time to get it right. If Rochdale has a case to make, it should cer­tainly re­spond to the con­sul­ta­tion I launched to­day. Rochdale is part of the busi­ness rates re­ten­tion pi­lot and I know it wel­comes that. When we al­lo­cate new fund­ing for things such as adult so­cial care, other fundrais­ing pow­ers are taken into ac­count.”

Mean­while Mr Lloyd also called on the gov­ern­ment to in­crease po­lice bud­gets, say­ing ‘it is not pos­si­ble to main­tain pub­lic safety’ af­ter GMP’s fund­ing was cut for the eight year in a row.

Mr Lloyd, Greater Manch­ester’s for­mer Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner, said: “Were I still a po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner, I could not main­tain the same level of polic­ing on this bud­get and the Min­is­ter must know that. The re­al­ity is that with in­fla­tion­ary pres­sures in gen­eral terms and the need to fund a le­git­i­mate po­lice rise and, on top of that, the in­creas­ing de­mand for polic­ing ser­vices, it sim­ply is not pos­si­ble to main­tain pub­lic safety.

“He re­ally has got to stand up and tell the pub­lic the truth. This is not a fair set­tle­ment.”

Nick Hurd, the Min­is­ter of State at the Home Of­fice, replied: “I hes­i­tate to cor­rect some­one who knows what he is talk­ing about, but [Mr Lloyd] is talk­ing as though this set­tle­ment is pro­posed in com­plete iso­la­tion.

“He and Labour front benchers are ig­nor­ing the fact that we work closely with po­lice chiefs and the PCCs. The in­de­pen­dent re­view that the PCCs and chiefs un­der­took, in­de­pen­dently of Gov­ern­ment, came to a very sim­i­lar con­clu­sion about what was needed in terms of fund­ing for 2018-19.

“We have lis­tened to them and de­liv­ered on that. It is their view that we are most in­ter­ested in.”

Mr Lloyd’s com­ments come af­ter Greater Manch­ester Mayor Andy Burn­ham ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of ‘gam­bling with pub­lic safety’ over po­lice cuts.

GMP would only get a fund­ing in­crease next April if the re­gion raises coun­cil tax. It is un­der­stood that the max­i­mum £10.4m that could bring in would only cover a planned one per cent pay in­crease for of­fi­cers.

●●Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd quizzed Min­is­ter Sa­jid Javid

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