March 6, 2017
Burnham-On-Sea MP speaks out over 'unfair' funding for local services

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has spoken out about the "unfair" way that rural public services in our area receive funding as he calls for "urgent changes".

James Heappey has made the remarks following a debate on local council funding formulas in the House of Commons.

He said: "The way that public services in rural areas are funded is unfair. Funding for schools, police, social care, our health system and local government are all rigged in favour of the big metropolitan councils."

"There’s no real reason for that, in many cases it’s just a consequence of decades of tweaking to formulas - it needs changing and urgently so."

He added: "On school funding, we have already won a good victory with almost every school in the Wells constituency gaining under the new national funding formula. However, limits on the amount that some of the currently better funded schools can lose means that it will take many years for the formula to be fully enacted and for funding to be equalised."

"Additional money on Adult Social Care will be allocated on the needs-based formula which recognises the cost of rurality and the ageing demographic. NHS funding is increasingly being allocated on the same basis."

"This is good news for Somerset but we have a long way to go before we achieve parity with our urban neighbours. Frustratingly, however, although police funding in theory utilises the same needs based formula, the effects of that formula are being ‘dampened’ meaning that we’re still at a huge disadvantage."

"Last week in Parliament we won an important concession from the Government on local council funding formulas. A full review will follow into the way those funds are allocated ahead of the next Local Government Funding Settlement being announced in 2019."

"In my speech to House of Commons, I made the point that living costs are often higher in rural areas and so the Government cannot see increased council tax as the sole solution here. Rurality is beautiful but it brings real challenges."

"Our local councils need a fair deal so that they can deliver high quality public services in the villages and towns across our wonderful country."


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