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Council Leader questions Government funding figure

Council Leader Simon Blackburn

Blackpool Council is to receive £8.6m of additional government funding this year to help pay for services including social care.

The figure, which represents a 6.4 per cent year-on-year increase, has been welcomed by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton.
But council leader Simon Blackburn branded the increase “deceitful” because a chunk of the extra cash relies on a four per cent increase in council tax.
The council is having to make savings of almost £20m in its 2020/21 budget in order to make the books balance.
Mr Benton said: “Local authorities play a vital role in our communities, providing the crucial local services that people rely on every day.
 “I am delighted the Conservative government has confirmed Blackpool will have additional funding this year, which will help our local leaders make positive change in the area.
 “The Conservatives were elected on a promise to level up local communities across the whole country, and with this funding increase, we can start to do exactly that, ensuring everyone lives in a community they can be proud of.”
The figures are part of the local government finance settlement which was confirmed by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick this month.
Councils across the country will share £49.2bn of local government funding,  a 4.4 per cent increase  which the Conservatives say is the largest year-on-year real terms increase in a decade.
But Coun Blackburn said the figures were misleading because they included council tax increases.
He said: “If these are the sort of weasel words we can expect from the new Conservative MP, the public need to be aware of how deceitful his claims are.
“The government has increased support for social care to all councils in England – but by no means enough.
“In Blackpool’s case, that’s an extra £5.9m – nowhere near enough to make up for shortfalls in previous years, or the huge demands on the services.
“But the main element of the remaining £2.7m that Scott Benton claims the government is ‘giving’ us, is merely the government’s assessment of how much extra we will get for having to increase council tax by almost four per cent.
“So that’s an extra £2.7m directly from the pockets and purses of each and every Blackpool council tax payer, not from the government.”
 

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