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MP joins council to call for a fair share for rural councils

January 11, 2013 10:06 AM

TF KendalSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron joined with South Lakeland District Council to call for a 'fair deal' for Cumbria's rural councils. Tim joined other MPs and councils to lobby the government yesterday about the issue.

Research conducted by the Rural Services Network has highlighted the inequity of the funding formula for places like South Lakeland. Rural councils like South Lakeland will face a bigger reduction in central grant and spending power than urban councils, according to an initial analysis by the Rural Services Network.

Overall, councils in London will see a cut of 1.52%, and the major urban areas will lose 1.81%. County councils like Cumbria will lose 4.7% on average and rural districts will lose the most with an average 6.78%.

However, the picture in our area is even worse, with Cumbria losing 7.1% of its Central Funding, and South Lakeland losing 8.9%, Barrow is losing 5.4% while Eden loses only 0.1%.

According to the Daily Telegraph the grouping is considering bringing a judicial review against the Minister for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles', spending settlement.

Tim will now be organising a delegation of rural Lib Dem MPs to meet local government ministers next week to press the case for South Lakeland further.

Tim said: "I will be joining MP's from all parties to lobby the government about funding for rural councils today. Rural authorities for the last 10 to 12 years have been seriously under funded in relation to urban areas. I will keep pushing the government to give rural councils in Cumbria a fairer deal."

South Lakeland's Portfolio Holder for Finance, David Evans, added: "The government have agreed that rural councils are underfunded, we now need them to act on that and make sure they amend the formula to make sure this ends. I will work to make sure that we turn this government rhetoric into action. If the formula is changed it will unlock funds to allow us to create jobs, attract investment and boost our economy. It could make a massive difference and this why we are fighting as hard as we are on this issue with local councils throughout England."