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Government 'short-changing UK's neediest areas'

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Campaigners have called on the government to 'keep its promise to end gross injustice in social services funding so that help reaches those who need it most.'

As the government announced a new settlement for adult social care services, the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities (SIGOMA) claims that£686m intended for the country’s neediest areas is being "unfairly given to some of London’s wealthiest boroughs".

Background

SIGOMA has been campaigning for the fair allocation of grants to councils based on need. The government agreed a new funding formula in 2005, but so far no changes have been implemented because it was felt that councils being overpaid would need time to adjust.

'Adjustment period must end'

SIGOMA is calling on the adjustment period to end. SIGOMA parliamentary group of MPs chair and MP for Wigan, Neil Turner (Lab), said: “How can it be right for Wigan MBC with its social and deprivation problems to be subsidising an affluent London borough like Kensington & Chelsea RBC to the tune of£10.1m?”

SIGOMA chair and Barnsley MBC leader Stephen Houghton (Lab) added: “We are seeing little or no benefit despite the recognition of our needs. The grants we currently receive increasingly bear little relationship to the needs identified for our local communities. We welcome the promise of an overall extra£2.6bn in funding for adult social care, but under the current funding model, areas most in need will still be significant losers."

'SIGOMA areas receive less cash'

Cllr Houghton added: “It is a fact that SIGOMA areas receive significantly less resources than others. In fact Richmond upon Thames LBC receives a staggering 130% more than its needs warrant, and if we are to help the government achieve its goals, particularly on child poverty, then it must acknowledge that we need the additional funding to be targeted where most needed."

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