Dunne welcomes commitment to review rural funding


South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne has welcomed some additional funding from central government for Shropshire Council for later this year, alongside a commitment from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to review fairer funding for local authorities.


Responding to a question from Mr Dunne in the House of Commons yesterday during a debate on Local Government Finance, the Secretary of State confirmed that the current consultation on a fairer funding formula looking into cost pressures for local authorities would form part of the next Spending Review. The consultation will consider sparsity and deprivation in rural areas, which should make the case for greater funding for rural areas like Shropshire.


Mr Dunne and other MPs, led by Daniel Kawczynski MP for Shrewsbury, had been lobbying the government in the last two weeks to secure further funding to help meet rising costs of providing social care in Shropshire. This week, they received confirmation Shropshire will receive an additional £2.25m, giving it a Core Spending Power of £231.3 million for 2018-19.


Mr Dunne said: “I am pleased the Secretary of State and other senior Ministers listened to our concerns and announced an additional £2.25m for Shropshire Council for the coming financial year.


Shropshire is facing significant cost pressures due to an increasingly elderly population, and therefore adult social care costs. I was surprised to learn ahead of the debate in which I took part yesterday, that only 10 constituencies now have a higher percentage of over-65s than the Ludlow Constituency, where over-65s make up 28.2% of the population.


This issue is not going away, and while the additional funding announced this week is welcome, it was crucial to have confirmation from the Secretary of State that the current consultation, looking into what drives cost pressures for local authorities, will feed into the next spending review. If sparsity and rurality are properly factored into the formulae determining local authority spending, Shropshire should stand to benefit over the long term, which is what we need.


I will be keeping up the pressure, alongside my colleagues from around Shropshire, to make sure our county gets the resources to deliver effective public services.”


Following representations from local government and Members of Parliament on the provisional funding plans announced in December, a further £150 million will be available in 2018-19 to those councils providing Adult Social Care, of which Shropshire Council will receive an additional £1.35million.


In addition, a further £16 million will be made available to councils providing services in rural areas, taking the total Rural Services Grant to £81 million - the highest it has ever been and a recognition of the cost of providing local services in sparsely populated areas. Shropshire Council will receive £900,000 of this additional RSG reflecting recognition of its sparse rural nature.