Back In 2016 Dorset Conservatives, including Dorset County Council leader, Robert Gould and North Dorset MP Simon Hoare, faced with the prospect of an extra £7 million cut in funding for 2016/2017, met the Secretary of State and proudly announced additional funds of £4 million in 2016/17 and £3.5 million in the following two years to 2018/19.
Simon Hoare proclaimed “I’m delighted by this news. The Government consulted, listened and has responded to our very strong demands for extra funding for Dorset… During the election campaign I pledged that I would work to ensure Dorset received a fairer slice of the funding cake and I have delivered on that pledge.”
So proud are they that the announcement still features on their website.
As is often the case, dig a little below the surface and you uncover the truth.
The “extra funding for Dorset” isn’t extra funding at all – it’s not new money. It’s money taken from 2019/20 and allocated to the previous three years.
As Robert Gould himself conceded in the Leaders Budget Speech for 2016/17 “The final settlement has provided some transitional relief in the first three years. We will still need to deliver the same level of savings by 2019/20.”
The levels of cuts imposed by the Tory Government on to Dorset are eye-watering. The Revenue Support Grant (RSG) for 2016/17 was cut from £36.9 million to £19.4 million – that equates to 47%.
Dorset council tax payers now see the unenviable prospect of seeing £10.14 million pounds going back to central government as negative RSG. The latest estimates show that the budget shortfall in 2019/20 is £11.416 million.
On 4 May, Dorset elects a new County Council – use your vote to send a message to the Tories that Dorset Deserves Better.
I am standing for election in the Blackmore Vale division and will do my best to protect local services and to hold the Tories to account.