Cornwall councillors press minister for fairer rural funding deal
Senior representatives from Cornwall Council have met with the local government minister to plead for a fairer funding deal for the county.
Council leader John Pollard, finance and resource portfolio holder Alex Folkes and newly appointed chief executive Andrew Kerr met with minister Brandon Lewis in London yesterday to discuss the deal.
The council members attended the meeting to discuss the disparity between Government funding for rural and urban areas, however, budgetary strategy and cross-service funding allocation were also touched upon.
Cornwall’s government grant equates to roughly £408 per person, less than half of the £1,041 per person currently given to the London Borough of Hackney.
It is estimated that if Cornwall Council received the same level of funding it would gain more than £48million next year.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Pollard said it was constructive and worthwhile.
He said: “The minister listened to our points and engaged in a useful dialogue. We raised the issue of fair funding, having greater freedom and flexibility over our own finances.
“We also talked about our budgetary strategy and our plans for how we will shape the future of Cornwall.
“The minister understood the extra pressures Cornwall faces because of issues such as flooding and bad weather. We invited the minister to visit Cornwall soon to see for himself the good work Cornwall Council undertakes and he indicated that he was keen to do so.”
Mr Folkes added: “We raised the issue of fair of funding and also talked about our budgetary strategy and financial plans. (The fair funding argument) is a tough sell in that the Government has limited funds and if they give more money to us then they will have to give it to somewhere else. We made the case and we hope he took it on board.”