Hundreds back “fair deal” calls

Hundreds of people have backed calls for a “fair deal for Dudley” when it comes to funding vital local services.

Dudley Council has been consulting on the budget proposals detailing how thousands of pounds could be invested into local services.

It includes money to tackle fly-tipping and caring for the environment, investing in services for older people and supporting younger people. The proposals also include a 2.99 per cent increase in the basic rate of council tax with a further 1.5 per cent increase, which will go specifically to adult social care services. The basic rate equates to less than £1 extra a week on most properties and importantly, means people will still pay one of the lowest council tax rates in the country.

Almost 700 people responded with 96 per cent of people backing the “fair deal for Dudley” bid.

It follows a joint letter signed by leaders of both main political parties at the council, outlining a number of ways the government could make it fairer in the way it allocates money to Dudley. The results will now form part of a report to all members of the council before it is discussed in the council chamber on February 25. Councillor Qadar Zada, leader of the council, said:

"I’m pleased that almost all those people who responded to the consultation agreed that there are significant issues that need to be addressed by government to give Dudley a fair deal when it comes to funding.

"The people of this borough deserve high quality services and recognise that we need the money to pay for them. This strengthens our cross-party calls for a fairer funding system for Dudley.”

A letter, signed by both political group leaders, has been sent to the government calling for a “fair deal for Dudley”. It comes as the government plans its fair funding review which will look at how money is allocated to local authorities from 2020/21.

Dudley has seen greater reductions in funding than many other authorities, with a 29 per cent real terms drop in spending power in Dudley since 2010, compared to just 15 per cent in Surrey, for example.

The letter calls for more advance notice on how money is allocated to the authority to allow for better planning. It also asks for more consideration to allocating adequate funding in densely populated urban areas like Dudley and would like the demographics of Dudley to be taken into consideration, as opposed to more rural areas.

Dudley has kept its council tax low for many years, and has one of the lowest rates in the country. But this restricts how much money can be raised locally to fund services, compared to areas with much higher council tax rates. Council bosses have asked for special consideration towards these historic low rates in Dudley when funding is allocated from government.


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