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Rutland leaders host a meeting with local government minister Luke Hall to ask for fairer funding to reduce the need for Rutland County Council to rely so heavily on council tax

County leaders are fighting to get more money from the government in order to reduce reliance on council tax.

Eighty per cent of Rutland County Council's budget is raised from taxpayers compared to an average of 60 per cent for other English local authorities.

Following a meeting this month where councillors agreed to consult on a 2.99 per cent increase in council tax this year, Rutland MP Alicia Kearns organised a meeting with the Minister of Local Government, Luke Hall, to address the issue.

Rutland MP Alicia Kearns
Rutland MP Alicia Kearns

She said: "Since my election I have worked tirelessly to push for a fairer funding settlement for Rutland. The Fairer Funding Review was postponed by the government due to the pandemic, as it was not feasible to fundamentally change the funding model for local authorities at a time of national crisis.

"I have raised the issue of fairer funding multiple times as ending rural disadvantage in local government funding is one of my election commitments.

"I will continue in my efforts to secure a fairer settlement for Rutland in the Fairer Funding Review which will hopefully be completed this year."

County council leader Oliver Hemsley (Con) and portfolio holder for finance Gordon Brown (Con) attended the online meeting.

A council spokesman said: "The minister noted the financial pressures and reduction in funding which Rutland faces. He also recognised that Rutland is an efficient and viable authority, spending less than other unitary authorities on average but delivering high-quality services.

"It was pointed out that Rutland residents were contributing more than 80 per cent towards annual council expenditure from their council tax. Along with the expectation of a five per cent increase in council tax for the coming year, this is not sustainable – especially for younger families and retired residents living on a pension.

"The minister agreed to consider issues raised and the solution proposed by the council when the funding arrangements for local authorities is finalised in the next few weeks. He also asked Rutland County Council to work with government through the Fairer Funding Review during the year."

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