Minister challenged over Plymouth’s ‘missing millions’

Plymouth City Council’s leader Tudor Evans is calling on the Local Government minister to explain why Plymouth is being cheated out on millions of pounds of funding for local services.

Councillor Evans challenged local government minister Kris Hopkins on Plymouth’s missing millions during a telephone conversation to discuss the Government’s funding settlement and called for an explanation about why there are huge inequalities in funding between different areas.

He has now written to him asking for an urgent investigation into why Government funding for Plymouth continues to be much lower than other areas.

He has called on the minister to explain why:

  • Plymouth has received a very significant reduction in spending power in its local government funding settlement, while better off, leafy councils had received increases. Devon County Council and East Devon have received a rise in the latest settlement while Plymouth received a significant decrease.
  • Plymouth’s revenue support grant has reduced from £62m to £44m – a massive 30 per cent drop.
  • Funding for public health for Plymouth is below the national average at £47 per head, while cities such as Portsmouth receives £77, Brighton and Hove £67 and Bristol £66. This is despite Plymouth having poorer than average health indicators.
  • Plymouth’s annual highway maintenance budget from central government has fallen steadily from £2.3m in 2011/12 to only £1.9m in 2014/15 and continues to fall despite the fact that Plymouth’s road network has been ravaged by some of the most severe and wettest winters in history. Also why there are continuing funding inequalities between areas. For example, Plymouth’s share of the national Pothole Fund last year worked out at £443 per kilometre, while Devon received £700 per kilometre.

Councillor Evans said: “We need answers about why the people of Plymouth are so blatantly being misled and mistreated by this Government.

“I challenged the minister when we spoke on the phone and he wasn’t able to justify this. We are now writing to him with the evidence, which we have plenty of.

“The people of Plymouth deserve fairness and transparency about how the Government is treating their city. The Government is using smoke and mirrors with its funding announcements to try and hide these huge cuts. For example, its latest ‘spending power’ figures for Plymouth included £17.8m from the Better Care Fund, when in reality this is funding that goes mainly to the Clinical Commissioning Group, a branch of the health service, rather than to local government. This sort of deception makes it hard for people to see the true picture.

“The people of Plymouth deserve better and we will continue to press the Government with the evidence until it has to act. We are asking all our MPs to press Plymouth’s case at every opportunity.”