West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, said he “wasn’t surprised” to learn that St Ives has been named as the “best place to live”, following a poll of 3,000 people conducted by a national property agency. Mr George commented (and tweeted!) over the weekend that “all of our local towns and villages are amongst the best places on the planet. “Of course it is great that national polls often place local towns at the top of the most desirable places to purchase a property. “However, our first priority has to be that local people are able to afford to carry on living in our local communities and that this understandable nation-wide desire to buy property here doesn’t result in locals being priced out of the market!”

Speaking after the Local Government Funding Settlement in the Commons yesterday, West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, warned that the Government would have to do more to bring Cornwall up to a fairer funding level.

 

Although the Local Government Funding Settlement provided Cornwall with a small increase in funds – £200,000 – the Council still expects to see a third of its Central Government funding removed over the next few years.

 

Mr George has accused the Government of having a funding formula which means that rural local authorities, like Cornwall, are “penalised” in contrast to their urban counterparts. Urban and metropolitan authorities receive 50% more Government money per head than rural Councils.

 

Mr George said: “These decisions have a very direct impact on the ability of Cornwall Council to protect bus services, social care, the road infrastructure, support our schools, maintain libraries and the many other functions of Local Government.

 

“The Government claims it is ‘closing the gap’ between urban and rural authorities, but the amount of money is miniscule. Whoever gets in next year will have to do better.”

 

Set out below is Mr George’s question to Local Government Minister, Kris Hopkins MP, and the Minister’s response.

Andrew George (St Ives) (LD): Cornwall, the poorest region in the country, is already doing more with less. Before the Conservative opposition in Cornwall runs another shameless campaign for a council tax freeze as the council faces a cut of a third of its budget over the next three years, causing carnage in the local authority, will the Minister reflect on his statement today that he is closing the gap between underfunded rural authorities, such as Cornwall, and urban authorities? At the rate he is going, he might close the gap by the next ice age. Will he please go back to the drawing board?

Kris Hopkins: An extra £4 million is definitely an increase—it was £11.5 million and is now £15.5 million. The Government are going a long way towards closing the gap. If the hon. Gentleman believes that more money is required, there is a mechanism by which that can be achieved, as the council can increase the council tax. He should trust the people of Cornwall and put it to the vote