Postcode lottery for services fear

PLANS to change the way local government is funded has caused a stir within rural councils in the North East, including Northumberland.

Central to the Government’s proposal is the localisation of business rates, which are at present collected nationally and then redistributed to local authorities according to a formula which recognises the specific needs of different places and communities.

North East councils are concerned that the move would reallocate resources to councils with strong economies, such as parts of London and the South East, meaning rural communities with smaller commercial and business areas such as Northumberland would lose out, resulting in a postcode lottery for services.

The Association of North East Councils (ANEC), of which Northumberland is a member, said councils in the North East need to have sufficient means to address their more complex and demanding local needs.

ANEC chairman Coun Paul Watson said: “We believe that all people of the country should be able to have access to good services no matter who they are or where they live.”