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Tories hand millions to wealthiest councils – but there’s only cuts for Chesterfield

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Labour MP Toby Perkins has accused the Government of a stitch-up after the Chancellor today handed hundreds of millions of pounds to the wealthiest Tory councils whilst offering nothing to Chesterfield.

Chesterfield Council has suffered some of the highest spending cuts since 2010, but has received nothing at all in today’s announcement. Meanwhile, leafy Surrey – one of England’s wealthiest shires – today gets a hand-out of £24m despite suffering far fewer cuts in recent years and suffering less of a squeeze on public services than Chesterfield. Indeed the top 27 recipients of today’s grants are all Conservative controlled councils.

Tory MPs became alarmed when they realised their constituencies might soon see cuts similar to those imposed on the rest of the country, and threatened to vote down the Government’s planned cuts until Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced a £300 million ‘transitional grant’. The Government have refused to say where the extra money comes from.

Labour analysis shows that £255 million of the grant – 85% – goes to Tory councils. Areas where Labour runs the council receive just £17 million, despite suffering the harshest cuts since 2010 and having higher levels of deprivation.

Toby Perkins MP said:
“Chesterfield has seen some of the harshest cuts over recent years with local services severely impacted. It is therefore shocking and scandalous that today we have seen the Conservative Government hand out millions to rural Conservative councils whilst leaving Labour councils like Chesterfield without any additional funding at all.

“Unbelievably the top 27 Conservative councils receive £202 million whilst 175 councils receive nothing at all from the Government. Chesterfield has been unfairly neglected by the Tory Government, and I will be writing to the Communities Secretary to seek an urgent explanation from him.”

Steve Reed MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government, said:
“The Government is covering up where this money has come from and won’t explain why almost all of it is being handed to Tory councils just weeks before council elections across the country.

“Councils that have already been cut to the bone since 2010 are getting nothing but more cuts. The Tories have picked millions of pounds from taxpayer’s pockets to buy off their own MPs when faced with a rebellion in the House of Commons.

“This is a blatant misuse of public money in a shameless attempt to buy votes and buy off Tory MPs.”

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries in Chesterfield and Staveley so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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