Cash settlement for Derby 'already takes account of trends in migration'
THE Government has responded to demands for more cash to help accommodate new migrants entering Derby by saying the city council's existing grant is "fair".
The amount of money given to the authority for 2013-14 by Whitehall took "projected figures based on previous (migration) trends into account", said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The city council's Labour leadership said the response was "disappointing".
The authority is drawing up a plan to lobby the Government for more cash to help it create things like the social housing and school places needed to cope with more migrants, particularly from Eastern Europe, coming to live in Derby. Its move comes as scores of additional people are expected to come to the city from Romania and Bulgaria next year under European Union "freedom of movement" rules.
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The council has already forked out a grant of £15,000 for Normanton-based Jobs, Education and Training (JET), which helps the unemployed find work.
The centre has seen a 200% rise in visitors, most of them from Eastern Europe, in the past year and its chief executive says the service is "at breaking point".
Mohammed Sharief says the increase is down to tougher Government rules for when jobseekers can claim benefits.
But the Government spokesman said: "Councils account for a quarter of all public spending and receive more than £114 billion of taxpayers' money each year. This (the funding for 2013-14) is a fair settlement and councils ready to strive for their communities by promoting local growth will now be rewarded with more income."
Derby City Council is set to receive £124.9 million from the Government's revenue support grant and retained business rates. The authority's cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Councillor Ranjit Banwait, said: "We are at a time of unprecedented cuts. If we take on a new community or several communities we are clearly going to need time and investment to help them integrate."
He called for a Coalition minister to visit Derby and places like JET to get a clear picture of the issue.
He said: "Anyone can sit behind a desk with loads of figures in front of them."