Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston, has taken the campaign to get fairer funding for Leicestershire to the heart of government, taking Leicestershire County Council officials to meet key decision makers in No.10 Downing Street and the Treasury.
Mr O’Brien, along with Deputy Leader of the County Council Cllr Byron Rhodes, presented proposals for a simpler, fairer system of local government funding to officials working on funding reform in Downing Street and the Treasury.
The “Leicestershire Model” developed by the Leicestershire County Council would see Leicestershire and other counties substantially better off if it is adopted by government.
At present Leicestershire is the lowest-funded county in the country, and even receives less funding than other areas that are relatively richer. This is because funding is based on a complex formula and historic allocations which don’t take account of up-to-date information on the needs of different areas. London authorities particularly gain from the historic formula, as the capital has become dramatically wealthier over time.
Calculations by Leicestershire County Council show that if Leicestershire were funded at the same rate as Surrey it would be £104 million a year better off. If Leicestershire was funded at the same rate as London’s Camden council, it would have £350 million more to spend on services for residents.
Neil O’Brien MP said: “The current system is unfair and central government funding doesn’t reflect the different costs different places face. It was great to be able to go and directly put our case for fairer funding to the officials who are working on this in the heart of government.”
Cllr Byron Rhodes said: “We’ve had a hugely productive meeting with the PM’s advisors and hope to carry the discussions forward to achieve fair funding in the not too distant future.”