Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:33 pm on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley 2:33 pm, 1st November 2018

It is a pleasure to follow Leo Docherty. I think it would be fair to describe his speech as a bit of a mixed grill, but perhaps I should move on.

In a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday, the Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Rishi Sunak), talked about local government cuts since 2010. He said that they had been mitigated by what he referred to as “core spending power”, which had gone up by 2% this year and over previous years. He went on to say:

“The idea that the funding formulas do not take account of deprivation or the differing ability of areas to raise council tax is totally erroneous.”—[Official Report, 30 October 2018;
Vol. 648, c. 332WH.]

Note that he said not just “erroneous”, but “totally erroneous”. I want to spend a moment looking at the veracity of that statement. He must know that the Government’s grant cuts since 2010 have hit those councils with the greatest need the hardest. Knowsley’s cut to “core spending power”, as he puts it, amounts to £485 per person, compared with the average for England as a whole of £188.