Funding ‘fiddle’ favours South

Date published: 25 November 2011

OLDHAM could be losing out on thousands of pounds to generate new jobs because of a Government funding fix, local MP Debbie Abrahams claims.

The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP revealed Greater Manchester will lose almost £300,000 for infrastructure spending aimed at boosting the local economy. She said the allocation of £500 million across the country favours mainly southern areas and called the allocation to the 38 areas involved a “funding fiddle” that will increase the economic North-South divide.

She added: “Instead of dividing up the money by using a well-established economic measure like employment, ministers have invented a measure which has never been used before called ‘employed earnings’ based on average wages. This funding fix results in more money being given to more affluent areas.”

The local MP is backing her Labour colleague John Healey, who is urging Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to explain to Parliament why he is using the new formula.