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 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,
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.