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Mets slam "devastating" spending review

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Metropolitan councils have labelled the spending review “devastating”, after it confirmed the Working Neighbourhoods Fund would be cut completely.

The fund, which had been widely tipped to be axed, was worth some £459m in 2010/11, according to Department for Communities & Local Government statistics and was handed out through area-based grant.

The spending review said: “As a result of this settlement, programmes including the Working Neighbourhoods Fund, Growth Area Funding and the Thames Gateway programme will end, in order to rationalise funding streams, make savings and take a more disciplined approach to Government spending.”

A raft of councils were able to access the pot from London boroughs such as Barking & Dagenham LBC to large city councils such as Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham City Councils.

The fund was one of a slew of grants impacted by the 2010/11 in year cuts.

Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities secretary, Phil Coppard, said the spending review, and in particular losing the Working Neighbourhood Fund, was “devastating”.  

Mr Coppard, who is chief executive of Barnsley MBC, said: “The Working Neighbourhoods Fund was integral for us. We were working on the assumption that we would have to save £40m – now as result of losing the working neighbourhoods money, we will have to find £47m.”  

A DCLG report published in 2007 said the grant would be focused “on the most deprived areas and which will support local authorities and communities in their efforts to tackle worklessness and the other elements of deprivation.”

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