Fairer Funding for Lincolnshire
a) That we instruct our chief executive to write to each of our local M.P.'s, in order to voice our concerns as a council, not only of the historical unjust treatment we have been receiving from central government with regards to funding, but also to highlight our concerns regarding what appears to be a lack of solidarity amongst the counties M.P.'s in showing support for this campaign.
b) To invite the appropriate Chairman of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to carry out research in order to ascertain, exactly how much this council has had its grants from central government reduced over the past 4 years.
[See attachment 13b]
Councillor Hansen proposed his motion:
a) “The Council instructs our Chief Executive to write to each of our local MPs in order to voice our concerns as a Council, not only of the historical unjust treatment we have been receiving from central government with regards to funding, but also to highlight our concerns regarding what appears to be a lack of solidarity amongst the county’s MPs in showing support for this campaign
b) To invite the appropriate Chairman of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to carry out research in order to ascertain exactly how much this Council has had its grants from central government reduced over the past 4 years”
In proposing his motion, Councillor Hansen referred to the disparity in funding per head of population between urban and rural areas. He spoke about the impact of this disparity on the delivery of public services within the county. Reference was made to the ‘Rural Fair Share Campaign’, which was formed by a cross-party group of MPs who represented mainly rural areas with the objective of helping ensure rural counties received a fair share of national resources. He stated that of the seven MPs who represented Lincolnshire, three had signed-up to the campaign. He asked Council to support the motion to do its best for residents within the district and to ensure officers had the funds to deliver services. The proposition was seconded.
Reference was made to the Fairer Funding for Lincolnshire campaign, which was being led by Lincolnshire County Council with the support of the district councils in the county. The programme had been running for approximately two years and it was suggested that the Council would be better served by resolving its commitment to this campaign over the national ‘Rural Fair Share Campaign’. On the back of the programme, five Lincolnshire MPs, council leaders and the Minister for Local Government met with the Secretary of State to put forward the case for fairer funding for Lincolnshire. An amendment was therefore proposed and seconded:
“The Council asks the Leader to reaffirm our support for the Lincolnshire Fairer Funding campaign by writing to our local Members of Parliament.”
Members sought clarification that the Fairer Funding for Lincolnshire was a separate programme to the Rural Fair Share Campaign and that the amendment would see letters being sent to all Lincolnshire MPs.
All Members who spoke referred to the history of campaigning for fairer funding in Lincolnshire. Members who spoke against the amendment felt it diluted the original proposition. Reference was made to the reduction in local government funding over the past 10 years and the impact of those cuts on the delivery of services, as such, support was expressed for the original proposition which included a review to establish the total amount of grant funding lost over this period.
One Member who had been involved in the campaign as a County Councillor gave an analogy to illustrate the different levels of funding for London Boroughs, metropolitan councils, unitary authorities and two-tier areas and stated that Lincolnshire was the second-worst funded county in the country. He also referred to his experience as a member of the Rural Services Network and the activity in which it had been involved to push forward the fairer funding agenda. He stated that the review of the funding formula by civil servants was underway but felt it was important to support the amended motion.
The proposer of the original motion was given the opportunity to sum up on the amendment. He referred to all of the public services operating within Lincolnshire and the impact of reduced funding levels, and consequent reductions in services, on members of the public. He said that the Council owed it to its residents to take action and show its support and that lobbying its representatives in Westminster was a good way to do this. While the proposer of the original motion accepted supporting the local campaign, his preference was clearly supporting the national campaign[added by Council on 26 July 2019].
A request was made that a recorded vote be taken on the amendment. As the request was supported by more than ten Members of the Council, in accordance with Article 4.13.4 of the Council’s Constitution, a recorded vote was taken.
For: Councillors Bellamy, Benn, Bosworth, Broughton, Chivers, Cooke, Cottier, Crawford, Dawson, Dobson, Exton, Goral, Griffin, Kingman, Manterfield, Mason, Dr. Moseley, Reid, Robins, Jacky Smith, Judy Smith, Stevens, Adam Stokes, Ian Stokes, Thomas, Trollope-Bellew, Trotter, Ward, Hilary Westropp, Whittington, Woolley, Linda Wootten and Ray Wootten (33)
Against: Councillors Baxter, Bisnauthsing, Clack, Dilks, Fellows, Kelly, Knowles, Milnes, Moran, Sandall, Selby, Steptoe and Wheeler (13)
Abstain: Councillor Hansen (1)
(Councillor Jeal had left the meeting prior to the recorded vote being taken)
The vote was carried, and the amendment became the substantive motion. A vote was taken on the substantive motion, which was also carried, and it was AGREED that:
The Council asks the Leader to reaffirm our support for the Lincolnshire Fairer Funding campaign by writing to our local Members of Parliament.