Date: 24/01/2008 Category: Finance
A shift in the way the Government shares out national council tax support grant has taken more than £100,000 away from Medway Council. While the council was told in December that it could expect to receive £79.226million in formula grant – government money that tops up the council tax – the final settlement announced yesterday (Jan 24) saw the council given just £79.12million for 2008/09. “The expected settlement was already inadequate and cutting it by more than £100,000 will clearly put extra pressure on council tax and on services,” commented Deputy Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Alan Jarrett. “There is always a change between the provisional amount announced in December and the final figure, but it would have been good to see it go up.” This is the first time that the government has enabled councils to plan ahead by indicating their likely grant for the next three years. Today’s figures show that Medway can expect to receive £82.225million in 2009/10 and £85.13million in the following year. The coming year’s cut in grant reflects a process known as ’floor damping’ which is designed to ensure that all groups of authorities receive a minimum grant increase. While some councils have been given extra cash as part of this process, Medway’s share of the national cake has been cut by £5.5million – around £100,000 more than expected. In contrast, the biggest winner amongst the unitary authorities is Brighton and Hove, which will gain £19.7million through floor damping. "This is despite the fact that Brighton and Hove already receives more than £100 per person more than Medway," added Cllr Jarrett. "That would be worth an extra £25 million if we received funding from Government at such a level."