Leeds could lose £11m in funding under council cash review, report warns

Leeds could lose millions in social care funding, a review of local government spending suggests.
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Some 10 local authorities across the region face a potential loss of up to £77,587,283.36, according the the Labour group on the Local Government Association (LGA), in a fair funding review set out to redistribute cash across the country's various councils.

Those facing the biggest cuts include Leeds (£11.3m), Hull (£14.2m) and Sheffield (£13.3m) councils.

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Other councils facing losses include Bradford (£10.3m), Kirklees (£6.3m), Barnsley (£4.5m), Doncaster (£5m), Rotherham (£6m), and Wakefield (£5m).

The report was produced by the Labour group on the LGA. Photo: PAThe report was produced by the Labour group on the LGA. Photo: PA
The report was produced by the Labour group on the LGA. Photo: PA

Three Yorkshire local authorities, namely York City Council, North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, would be the only ones to gain from the shifting of funds, and could receive an extra £20,282,981.96 under the guidelines.

How the Government proceeds with the adjustment to how local authorities are funded could cause tensions for newly-elected Yorkshire Conservative MPs who took seats from Labour under a promise to level up the North.

Imran Khan, new Tory MP for Wakefield, said: "I don't believe any of what is suggested in these reports will happen. I know from conversations I have had directly with the PM in the last week that he is committed to levelling up the entire country and supports my campaign to make Wakefield work for everyone."

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Rother Valley Tory MP Alexander Stafford said he would be asking for a meeting with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick to “ensure Rotherham Council gets its proper allocation of funding”.

But amid attacks from Labour over the plans he added: “The review is ongoing so the Labour group should wait until the results of the funding are known, and not engage in scaremongering.”

Shadow Communities Secretary, Andrew Gwynne, said: “In the new parliament, 37 Tory MPs represent communities at the sharp end of these cuts. They know these changes are wrong, so it’s time for them to decide: what comes first, their communities or their careers?”

But Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “These figures are speculation and local councils shouldn’t pay any heed to them.”

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A formal consultation is expected to be launched into the new funding formula in the Spring.

But the research by the Labour group of the Local Government Association which revealed the cash term cuts suggested the new method downgraded the impact of deprivation when totting up how much money individual councils should get.

An LGA spokesperson said: “This analysis does not represent LGA policy, an LGA policy proposal or an LGA preference. It is an attempt to provide some information to councils that might help gauge the likely impact of the fair funding review on the relative distribution of adult social care funding.”

A Government spokesman added: “Funding allocations for adult social care should be fair and based on the best available evidence. We will continue to progress the fair funding review through close collaboration and engagement with the local government sector, and aim to publish a consultation with indicative allocations in spring 2020. Councils should continue to use official government data for their financial planning.”