Government spends less in East Anglia

IT'S official. What East Anglia has known for years has now been confirmed - the Government spends the least in this region than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

Graham Dines

IT'S official. What East Anglia has known for years has now been confirmed - the Government spends the least in this region than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

The six counties of the east of England are short changed by 18% below the national average, with London, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland way out in the lead.

The left-leaning think-tank IPPR - the Institute for Public Policy Research - which has produced a league table showing the east of England receives £3,820 per head each year against the average of £4,679, warns that unequal distribution of Government cash threatens the future of the UK.


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The “stark variations” in spending between the regions, with the east receiving least, reveal that only London, the north-east and north-west received spending per head above the UK average, with the capital getting £5,985 (28% above the average), the north-east £4,960 (6%) and the north-west £4,927 (5%).

Yorkshire and the Humber received £4,477 (4% below average), West Midlands £4,430 (5%), East Midlands £4,086 (13%), the south-west £3,947 (16%) and south-east £3,874 (17%).

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Essex county council's leader Lord Hanningfield said the figures backed up his assertion that Essex got a raw deal from Whitehall.

“The people of Essex pay £1,000 a head more in tax than the Government gives back to the county,” he said. “Essex and the east of England are poorly resourced, with spending on roads and schools way down the list.

“Essex has the same costs as London - indeed until 40 years ago Romford and Ilford were parts of the county - so why should we get less cash spent on us?”

When central funding is measured against economic performance and poverty levels, Scotland is receiving more than it needs and England less, said the report. And it warned that the disparity has become “an increasing source of tension” between the four nations.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley found the findings “intensely troubling.” He said it was time for the devolved administration in Edinburgh to raise the extra cash it wanted from direct taxation north of the border, rather than being given “a free ride” by English taxpayers.

A spokesman for the Treasury said: “The Government is committed to improving prosperity and growth in all regions and countries of the UK.

“While it takes note of all contributions to the debate on this subject, the Government has no plans to change the formula ­­- it is a fair allocation which reflects population shares in the different nations of the United Kingdom."

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