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THINK-TANK PAPER REINFORCES SIGOMA POSITION

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The campaign by local councils for more central government funding belonging to SIGOMA (the Special Interest Group ...
The campaign by local councils for more central government funding belonging to SIGOMA (the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities) claimed today that the Social Market Foundation report, 'Poor Measures' reinforces their case.

Commenting on the report, Steve Houghton, the SIGOMA chair and leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Council said: 'This report comes at an crucial time as ministers consider a response to the consultation on a new method for government funding of local government.

'An opportunity to correct the inequalities of the current funding regime comes only rarely. We must ensure that the government makes the right decision.

'The report reinforces our view that current measures discriminate against our member councils and that the index of multiple deprivation is a vital measure to consider when tackling poverty and deprivation.'

Three key areas of agreement are:

The report argues that the median income measure of poverty is very

unreliable and should be abandoned as the headline measure of poverty, a

change, which SIGOMA have been advocating for many years.

Second, the report argues that the budget standards methodology is useful

for setting poverty lines for different household types, which fits with

SIGOMA's call for a proper appreciation of the different circumstances and

costs faced in different areas by different household types.

Third, the report argues that poverty thresholds can usefully be

supplemented with measures of multiple deprivation to check that poverty

thresholds are in the correct place. This chimes with SIGOMA's belief that

not only income but also measures of multiple deprivation are important for

the government to consider in trying to tackle poverty and deprivation.

NOTES:

1. The 48 local councils that make up the Special Interest Group of

Municipal Authorities outside London (SIGOMA) have long been campaigning

that multiple deprivation should be taken into account when deriving a new

local government funding formula.

2. In order for the new funding arrangements to reflect the problems and

meet the needs of the majority of England's citizens, SIGOMA believes they

must also: properly take account of multiple deprivation; be realistic about

the 'extra' cost of services to certain councils; ensure people have the

ability to pay; and address the consequences of decline. For more

information visit www.sigoma.gov.uk.

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