Derby's leaders vow to fight unfair burden on taxpayers - with poll
CITY leaders are to demand more cash from ministers after figures revealed Derby is getting a raw deal.
Officers have produced statistics which show the city is receiving harsher cuts to its Government funding than most local authorities.
Council leader Paul Bayliss, along with colleagues, will take those numbers to ministers to lobby for more money.
And he is hoping to get cross-party support for his call.
He said: "This is about the people of Derby. They are not getting a fair deal and we think everyone should be fighting for Derby, regardless of which party they represent."
In Derby, the reductions since 2010 equate to a loss of £75.77 per person compared to a national average of £61.90 across similar councils.
Out of the 55 unitary authorities in the country – those like Derby where one council controls all services – two thirds are better off than our city. Only 15 have a worse deal.
And the city's Labour-led authority said those better off were in mainly southern, Tory-run areas.
Councillor Sarah Russell, the city council's cabinet member for finance, said: "The Government is attacking democracy by punishing people for not voting Conservative."
Councils in wealthier areas of England have had far smaller cuts in Government grants than Derby, figures produced by officials here have shown.
While Derby has seen cuts of £75 per person as part of the austerity measures, in Wokingham there has been a rise in the grant of £2.87 per person. Elsewhere, the cuts are much smaller, such as £2.18 per person in Windsor and Maidenhead.
Councillor Sarah Russell, Derby City Council's cabinet member for finance, said: "Eleven out of the 12 unitary authorities to have been most attacked by Government are Labour-led, whereas eight out of the nine unitary authorities to have been least attacked by Government are Conservative.
"The Government is determined to attack the North and protect the South. Thirty-two of the 39 authorities given a better deal than Derby come from further south, whereas 13 out of the 15 worst-affected are either from further north or the same vicinity as Derby."
Every local authority receives grants from central Government towards services. Those amounts have been sliced in recent years as part of austerity measures.
And analysis of the numbers shows the harshest settlements are in cities in the Midlands and North, the majority are Labour-controlled, while those receiving a better settlement are south of Derby, often Tory-led.
The disproportionate cuts have led Derby's Labour group to plan a Fair Deal for Derby campaign – lobbying Government for a better settlement in this budget round.
Current predictions are that the city will have to find £25 million of savings to balance the budget for 2013-14, based on the expected settlement from the Government.
Mr Bayliss said that needs to improve if the city is to avoid severe cuts to services.
He said: "We are looking at the facts and the figures and they show that Derby is receiving an unfair amount of cuts. We want people to get behind us in calling for a Fair Deal for Derby because this affects everyone."
The Department for Communities and Local Government defended the way the cuts were calculated.
A spokesman said: "The settlement is fair between different parts of the country – north and south, rural and urban, metropolitan and shire. Funding is being directed to where it is needed most so councils can protect the frontline services people rely on, shield the most vulnerable places, safeguard the most vulnerable people, and protect taxpayers' interests."
Labour councillors will today take the first step in launching the campaign.
They will be calling on support from their Conservative and Liberal Democrat counterparts on the authority to join in cross-party lobbying of the coalition Government.
A motion will go before all councillors this evening calling for their support.
POLL: Are we getting a raw deal? Have your say on our quick, anonymous poll (above right).
Derby among biggest losers
DERBY lost £8.7 million in Government grants between 2011-12 and 2012-13. This equates to a cut of 4%.
The city was the third-highest loser in a group of comparable councils.
City council officers say there is evidence to suggest that cuts are disproportionately affecting the most deprived areas. Some of the most needy authorities received the highest level of cuts, such as Liverpool, at 7.1%, compared to Richmond upon Thames, at 1.8%.
The Government froze council tax in 2011 and gave local authorities a compensation grant to ease the burden. However this gave more to affluent areas.
For example, Derby received £8.10 per head in compensation. That is compared with the national average of £12.30 and is the lowest level of compensation in a group of similarly-sized authorities.
How the councils compare
The following information shows the name of the council, whether it is worse off or better off per person and its location.
Wokingham +£2.87 South of Derby
Windsor & Maidenhead -£2.18 South of Derby
Poole -£3.57 South of Derby
Central Bedfordshire -£8.45 South of Derby
Cheshire East -£9.81 North of Derby
Swindon -£12.24 South of Derby
Wiltshire -£17.53 South of Derby
Bracknell Forest -£18.08 South of Derby
North Somerset -£18.79 South of Derby
South Gloucestershire -£20.90 South of Derby
West Berkshire -£21.29 South of Derby
Milton Keynes -£21.94 South of Derby
Rutland -£23.21 South of Derby
Bath & NE Somerset -£24.19 South of Derby
Shropshire -£29.02 South of Derby
York -£30.34 North of Derby
Thurrock -£31.03 South of Derby
East Riding -£31.70 North of Derby
Warrington -£35.83 North of Derby
Bedford -£37.44 South of Derby
Herefordshire -£38.31 South of Derby
Cheshire West/ Chester -£38.45 North of Derby
Medway -£39.59 South of Derby
Cornwall -£40.37 South of Derby
Bristol -£46.23 South of Derby
Torbay -£50.82 South of Derby
Bournemouth -£52.34 South of Derby
Plymouth -£52.45 South of Derby
N Lincolnshire -£52.69 North of Derby
Southend-on-Sea -£53.23 South of Derby
Darlington -£53.82 North of Derby
Southampton -£54.97 South of Derby
Isle of Wight -£58.58 South of Derby
Telford & Wrekin -£59.07 South of Derby
Reading -£59.51 South of Derby
Peterborough -£60.31 South of Derby
Portsmouth -£61.18 South of Derby
Slough -£68.72 South of Derby
Luton -£72.70 South of Derby
Derby -£75.77 Same vicinity
Brighton & Hove -£78.47 South of Derby
Northumberland -£82.35 North of Derby
Stockton-on-Tees -£96.44 North of Derby
Durham -£97.71 North of Derby
Leicester -£102.24 Same vicinity
Stoke-on-Trent -£114.76 North of Derby
Blackpool -£127.85 North of Derby
Redcar & Cleveland -£137.12 North of Derby
North East Lincolnshire -£137.14 North of Derby
Nottingham -£139.29 Same vicinity
Halton (Cheshire)-£141.99 North of Derby
Kingston-upon-Hull -£147.62 North of Derby
Middlesbrough -£153.22 North of Derby
Hartlepool -£177.49 North of Derby
Blackburn with Darwen -£187.05 North of Derby
*Unitary authority average -£61.90
*Conservative controlled unitary authority
*Labour controlled unitary authority
South of Derby unitary authority
North of Derby unitary authority