I was really disappointed by the tone of the column from Graham Chapman, the deputy leader of Nottingham City Council, entitled “Government must not bail out failing counties”. He complained specifically that Hampshire CC was one of the biggest winners two years ago in getting “transitional relief”.
Cllr roy perry hants cc
We are not a failing county but it is true we did get a total of £18.6m in transitional relief over 2016-17 and 2017-18. In 2017-18 we got another one-off of £4.9m for adult social care and we are immensely grateful and relieved to have received an additional £2.97m again for adult social care in the final local government funding settlement announced for 2018-19. The government has properly recognised the huge pressures we face and maybe some of the inequities in the present funding formula but those relief payments cannot be put into our base funding. They help a little and are thoroughly justifiable but are not a long-term solution.
At the same time we have seen a £117m reduction in our recurring revenue support grant. By 2019-20 Hampshire’s revenue savings will have reached close on £0.5bn. I can assure Cllr Chapman we have not escaped serious funding cuts as he alleges.
I note for its upper-tier funding responsibilities Nottingham City Council receives £335 per head whilst for Hampshire the comparable figure is just £100 per head. That is a huge difference per head and residents of Hampshire have some difficulty in understanding such a discrepancy. If we received anything like the same grant as Nottingham we would receive well over £200m more per annum. There may be a case for that existing difference but it is wrong to suggest some councils have escaped serious funding cuts. The whole sector is under pressure.
I say bring on the fair funding review and the social care green paper and the sooner the better but in the meantime let those of us in local government recognise we are all facing problems in grappling with incessant financial pressures especially for funding social care for adults and children.
Roy Perry (Con), leader, Hampshire CC