"Government plans to rob Kingston of £1million" - Edward Davey
Surprise proposal to change funding calculations means London Councils set to lose out
Council tax could rise and services still get cut under a Government plan "to rob" Kingston of £1million. Edward Davey MP has condemned the proposal as "outrageous" and has written a strong letter of objection to John Precott.
At a recent meeting with Kingston Councils Directors, Edward Davey MP heard about plans to change the data used to calculate Kingstons 2001/02 budget settlement resulting in a £1millon net loss.
However, the Government has suggested that the latest New Earnings Survey (NES) data should not be used in the calculation of the Area Cost Adjustment for 2001/2002. The effect of incorporating the latest data would be to give the London area an extra £49m in SSA. This proposal is a departure, with no technical justification, from the practice that has been applied since 1990/1991.
Edward Davey said,
"The Governments proposal to fiddle the figures is simply outrageous.
"If this proposal goes ahead, Kingston would lose £1million pounds forcing up the council tax and cutting services."
"The Deputy Prime Minister must think again. Kingston deserves a fair deal."
Councillor Wyn Evans, Co-Chair of the Strategy & Resources Panel added,
"Kingston Council has endured severe cuts to its budget under successive Governments.
"Since 1994, Kingstons grant from central Government has fallen from £41million to £35million.
"Any further cuts will place further pressure on local services, such as schools and on the level of council tax."
Copy of letter to John Prescott
Rt Hon John Prescott MP
2001/2 RSG Settlement
I am writing in support of the representations made by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames concerning the circular issued by the Local Government Association, "Arrangements for the 2001/02 RSG Settlement", dated 27 September 200.
I am concerned about the suggestion that New Earnings Survey (NES) data changes will not be fed into the calculation of the Area Cost Adjustment (ACA) for the 2001/2002 finance settlement. The current ACA has been in place since 1990/91 and each year the latest NES data available have been fed into the calculation.
As I am sure you are aware, the data highlights real cost increases incurred by Authorities such as Kingston. For example, there have been difficulties recruiting professional staff, particularly teaching staff. This has resulted in the need to pay additional salary enhancements to retain and recruit teachers.
Without these enhancements, the implementation of class size reduction plans and the maintenance of high educational standards will become almost impossible.
Given these factors, I would urge your department to reconsider this proposal. The outcome of not including this data would be the inevitable erosion of the proposed SSA settlement.
I would be happy to meet you to discuss this matter in person.
Edward Davey MP