Labour furious as 83% of fund to ease council cuts will go to Conservative authorities

From The Guardian: Labour MPs have expressed their fury after Tory rebels dropped their objections to council cuts because of a new £300m government fund to ease funding difficulties in mostly wealthy Conservative-run areas.

Greg Clark, the communities secretary, insisted the new cash was not a “political bung” to stop up to 30 Tories revolting against the local government settlement.

However, several Tory MPs openly acknowledged they were persuaded to back the government only after the new “transitional relief” was announced, of which about 83% will go to Conservative councils.

Labour MPs were furious that only 5% of the new relief will be going to areas run by Labour. The rest goes to councils with no overall control, coalition or run by other parties.

Steve Reed, the shadow local government minister, said: “Whatever happened to the one nation Tories, what about the northern powerhouse, if the word gerrymander didn’t already exist we’d have to invent it to describe a fix like this.”

He said the way the money was being distributed was “desperately unfair” and a “political bung”.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]