Region ‘misses out’ on public spending

PEOPLE living in the East of England are suffering a �5.5billion shortfall in public spending compared to the rest of the country, according to the region’s Development Agency.

A new report suggests local people and businesses receive the second lowest levels of public spending per head in England – making the region one of only three to contribute more to the public purse than is received back in Government spending.

And the report warns public sector job losses could top 46,000 by the end of the 2015/16 financial year.

According to Public Insight, produced by the East of England Development Agency’s Insight East team, the region also suffers significant under-spending when compared to economic need in a number of areas.

The report provides an analysis of past and current public expenditure and employment, illustrating some of the potential impacts of public sector spending cuts.

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The East of England received 9.7% of the total public expenditure in England in 2008/09, says the report. That figure is lower than the region’s share of population – 11.1%. And a number of key areas have notably lower per capita investment when compared to selected measures of need, including transport, housing, health, education, and recreation, culture and religion.

Science and technology is identified as one of only two areas where the level of investment is not lower than the measured need.

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Agency chairman Will Pope said: “If you apply the national average to our population, the East of England would have an additional �5.5bn a year to spend, which is staggering.

“Despite being seen as a prosperous part of the world, the East of England suffers from some very real challenges. Parts of our infrastructure are creaking, we have considerable skills shortages and issues with housing availability. These are all highlighted in the report as areas where our need is not matched by current public investment.”

Based on national forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the report suggests that the East of England could expect public sector job losses of 46,000 by the end of financial year 2015/16.

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