Former ‘red wall’ areas could lose millions in council funding review
£300m a year set be redirected from deprived areas to shire councils, analysis shows
Boris Johnson visited Sedgefield the day after the election: Durham county council could lose £10m a year under the changes. Photograph: Reuters
A reallocation of council funding could redirect hundreds of millions of pounds from so-called left-behind communities in the north of England to the leafy southern shires, analysis has found, leaving many newly Conservative voting “red wall” areas facing fresh cuts to local services.
Under a review of the local authority funding formula, £320m a year could be shifted out of councils in England’s most deprived areas while Tory-controlled shire councils mainly in the south-east gain £300m.
High-profile losers include many constituencies that elected new Tory MPs in December, including Workington, which would suffer from Cumbria county council’s £5m loss, and Sedgefield, which would feel the impact of £10m being taken out of Durham county council.
An estimated 37 of the 50 new Tory MPs – amounting to 70% of the gains made by the Conservatives at the general election – represent areas that are set to lose millions a year. Other notable losers include Stoke-on-Trent, Redcar, West Bromwich, Bishop Auckland, Grimsby and Leigh.
The analysis, commissioned by the Local Government Association, presentsBoris Johnson with an early test of his promise to “level up” resources between the south and the north and Midlands. The government is expected to issue a formal consultation on the new formula, which has been developed over the past 12 months, in the spring.
The LGA’s Labour group said Hampshire would be the biggest winner, gaining £35m a year, followed by Surrey county council (£25m), which is home to 11 Conservative MPs including the cabinet members Dominic Raab and Michael Gove. Big losers include Birmingham, which would lose more than £48m.
The Tory-run Northamptonshire county council, which declared effective bankruptcy in 2018 after years of financial mismanagement and is still in special measures, is set to get a £7.5m boost to its budget. At the time, ministers have refused to bail it out, saying this would be a reward for failure.
The Conservative-run East Sussex, council, which hit the headlines in 2018 after warning that cuts would pare local services back to a “bare legal minimum”, stands to gain £6m a year, while Wokingham in Berkshire, one of England’s most affluent boroughs, could get a 30% funding rise.
Johnson made a high-profile visit to Sedgefield – for many years Tony Blair’s seat – the morning after the election to celebrate his party’s emphatic victory, and he promised to repay the trust of voters who had helped propel him to power by switching from Labour to Tory.
From 2021, 37 councils where the local MP is a newly elected Tory could lose a total of £263m under the government’s ‘fair funding review’
|Constituency||council||Total change in cash terms (£)||Overall % change|
|Ashfield||Nottinghamshire county council||3,100,901.73||1.62%|
|Barrow-in-Furness||Cumbria county council||-4,849,816.44||-3.63%|
|Bassetlaw||Nottinghamshire county council||3,100,901.73||1.62%|
|Birmingham Northfield||Birmingham city council||-48,466,070.63||-15.45%|
|Bishop Auckland||Durham county council||-10,327,678.82||-6.71%|
|Blackpool South||Blackpool council||-6,324,230.77||-12.76%|
|Blyth Valley||Northumberland county council||1,140,813.22||1.41%|
|Bolsover||Derbyshire county council||-3,928,887.02||-2.01%|
|Bolton North East||Bolton council||-6,652,927.84||-8.68%|
|Burnley||Lancashire county council||-6,616,449.94||-2.22%|
|Bury North||Bury council||-510,742.69||-1.14%|
|Bury South||Bury council||-510,742.69||-1.14%|
|Carshalton and Wallington||London Borough of Sutton||4,126,122.93||10.35%|
|Colne Valley||Kirklees council||-6,255,726.31||-6.05%|
|Crewe & Nantwich||Cheshire East||7,735,931.15||10.20%|
|Derby North||Derby city council||-5,489,488.90||-8.57%|
|Don Valley||Doncaster city council||-4,962,665.76||-5.91%|
|Dudley North||Dudley council||-4,545,491.24||-5.47%|
|Durham North West||Durham county council||-10,327,678.82||-6.71%|
|Eastbourne||East Sussex county council||6,343,772.54||4.75%|
|Gedling||Nottinghamshire county council||3,100,901.73||1.62%|
|Great Grimsby||North East Lincolnshire council||-2,184,309.38||-5.14%|
|Heywood & Middleton||Rochdale council||-5,990,378.57||-9.67%|
|High Peak||Derbyshire county council||-3,928,887.02||-2.01%|
|Hyndburn||Lancashire county council||-6,616,449.94||-2.22%|
|Ipswich||Suffolk county council||4,812,570.14||2.83%|
|Keighley||Bradford city council||-10,323,687.66||-7.96%|
|Kensington||Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea||-3,176,909.92||-6.72%|
|Lincoln||Lincolnshire county council||5,092,206.79||2.84%|
|Newcastle-Under-Lyme||Staffordshire county council||8,546,278.61||4.52%|
|Norfolk North||Norfolk county council||3,801,244.15||1.74%|
|Penistone and Stocksbridge||Barnsley council||-4,465,604.31||-6.40%|
|Peterborough||City of Peterborough council||1,126,512.58||2.56%|
|Redcar||Redcar and Cleveland council||-2,516,389.34||-6.40%|
|Rother Valley||Rotherham council||-5,951,242.02||-8.02%|
|Sedgefield||Durham county council||-10,327,678.82||-6.71%|
|Stockton South||Stockton-on-Tees council||-565,749.00||-1.20%|
|Stoke-on-Trent Central||Stoke-on-Trent council||-8,950,610.93||-11.91%|
|Stoke-on-Trent North||Stoke-on-Trent council||-8,950,610.93||-11.91%|
|Stroud||Gloucestershire county council||4,765,119.54||3.60%|
|Warrington South||Warrington council||782,355.66||1.74%|
|West Bromwich East||Sandwell council||-15,804,585.52||-15.68%|
|West Bromwich West||Sandwell council||-15,804,585.52||-15.68%|
|Wolverhampton North East||Wolverhampton council||-7,391,793.12||-9.87%|
|Wolverhampton South West||Wolverhampton council||-7,391,793.12||-9.87%|
|Workington||Cumbria county council||-4,849,816.44||-3.63%|
How could the government’s ‘fair funding review’ affect the budgets of English councils from 2021?
|Local authority (pre-2019)||Total change in cash terms (£)||Overall % change|
|Barking and Dagenham||-3,135,355.27||-6.17%|
|Bath and North East Somerset||461,224.89||1.21%|
|Blackburn with Darwen||-7,965,280.94||-18.17%|
|Brighton and Hove||-2,790,569|
|Cheshire West and Chester||978,107.49||1.25%|
|City of London||-203,402.94||-7.65%|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||3,994,399.72||5.27%|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||-359,160.14||-0.69%|
|Isle of Wight||-552,854.94||-1.37%|
|Kensington and Chelsea||-3,176,909.92||-6.72%|
|Kingston upon Hull||-14,197,077.89||-17.49%|
|Kingston upon Thames||4,007,574.74||13.05%|
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