A commitment by the Leader of Peterborough City Council to lobby government for fairer funding will begin to gather pace from today (Monday 20 November 2017) with the launch of a campaign which asks people to Stand Up For Peterborough.
At a meeting of the city council's Cabinet this morning Councillor John Holdich reaffirmed his commitment to lobby the government for fairer funding, saying that he believes the city council no longer receives a fair deal and that our residents are being short-changed.
Councillor Holdich then announced the launch of a campaign - Stand Up For Peterborough - Protect Our Vital Services - to formalise his commitment to lobbying government, generate public support and achieve greater awareness of our funding situation across Peterborough.
The campaign asks council staff, residents, businesses and all other interested groups to support the campaign and Stand Up For Peterborough.
Councillor Holdich said: "We are in the midst of our toughest budget setting process yet and the time has come for us to take a stand. We are having to do more and more with less and less money from the government and I believe Peterborough no longer receives a fair funding deal and our residents are being short-changed.
"I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved in our city in recent times, but we cannot continue to see our government funding fall at such an alarming rate and continue to provide the same level of services that we currently do for our residents. When you add population growth and sharp increases in demand for services we will get to the point very quickly where we will have to cut frontline services if our funding is not increased.
"I have said I will fight for our residents and lobby government for fairer funding for our city and I would be failing in my duty as leader if I did not. I have meetings arranged with our MPs, the Mayor of the Combined Authority, James Palmer, and made contact with the chairman of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter to discuss how they can all help our fight. We have also written to the Department for Communities and Local Government to make our disappointment clear on our funding settlement for next year.
"For our voice to be heard I need the support of as many people as possible across the city - residents, businesses and community groups. Please join our campaign and together we can stand up for Peterborough and protect our vital services."
Since the government’s austerity programme began in 2010 the amount of funding that all councils receive has fallen at an alarming rate.
In 2013/14 the city council received £55million in Revenue Support Grant, the government grant which supports a range of council services, and this will have reduced to just £15million in 2018/19 and then £10million in 2019/20. That will be a reduction of 80 per cent over seven years.
Peterborough is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, in terms of population growth, and demand for certain council services is rapidly increasing. However, current government funding takes no account of population growth or demand levels. Instead our funding is reduced year on year.
At the same time the council has seen unprecedented increases in demand for services, such as meeting the needs of a rising number of homeless households and an ever growing number of adults and elderly people requiring care.
In terms of homelessness in particular, the council has seen a 200 per cent rise in the number of homeless families requiring temporary accommodation in just the past two years.
Councillor David Seaton, cabinet member for resources, said:
"There is a real disparity when it comes to the funding we receive compared to other councils in the region. For example, we receive a Flexible Homelessness Support Grant, which is based on the number of people we have in temporary accommodation. This year Peterborough will get £489,321, yet Luton will receive £2.7million. This is because the funding formula is based on out of date homelessness figures which do not reflect the sharp increase we have seen in Peterborough in the past two years.
"This is just one of many areas where our population growth and therefore increased demand for services is simply not reflected in our government funding."
Support the Stand Up For Peterborough campaign
People can pledge their support for the campaign on the 'Stand Up For Peterborough' page.