Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Review promised for Isle of Wight Council funding

Isle of Wight Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The Isle of Wight Council insists the extra costs of being an island mean it should be given special consideration

The government has agreed to review funding for the Isle of Wight following warnings its council may not be able to provide essential services in future.

Isle of Wight Council received none of a £300m fund to help councils hardest hit by cuts.

Island MP Andrew Turner told the House of Commons the council's future was "not secure".

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said he would visit the island and consider its special circumstances.

The Independent-run Isle of Wight Council faces a predicted budget gap of about £32m over the next four years.

Image caption Andrew Turner MP told MPs the Isle of Wight Council's future was "not secure"

Council leader Jonathan Bacon previously said he was "incensed" at not being included in "transitional" funding for councils hardest hit by cuts announced in February and, without special consideration, the council would "simply not be able to provide statutory services in the future".

Conservative Andrew Turner told MPs on Wednesday: "The future of the Isle of Wight Council beyond this year was not secure. Money is in short supply but when there is not so much to go round it is then that resources must be shared most fully."

Mr Clark blamed a funding formula inherited from the Labour government which the coalition could not agree to change.

"This government is determined to build a fair settlement for local government and the review will consider the costs associated with being separated from the mainland," he said.

Welcoming the secretary of state's comments, Mr Bacon said he was concerned there were no timescales to completing this review.

"I cannot see any way the council can set a lawful, balanced budget for 2017/18 based on the current planned funding allocations from government.

"Public services on the island are under increasing and unique pressure, due to increasing demands for our services, increasing burdens imposed by government and a raft of other limitations that being an island brings," he said.

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