Yes Polly, this is the point

There is just one extraordinary fact everyone needs to know. The cuts have fallen hardest on the most deprived councils, while the richest areas have suffered least. Whichever way the figures are construed, the highest percentage of cuts hit the poorest places hardest: Liverpool worst, followed by Manchester; Knowsley; Blackburn with Darwen; South Tyneside; Hackney; Newham; Hartlepool; Tower Hamlets and so on.

Now look up at the top and some councils actually gain – such as Oliver Letwin\’s Dorset. Among the least affected in spending power are such places as Vince Cable\’s Richmond upon Thames, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham, and Michael Gove\’s Surrey.

The Local Government Chronicle first outed these figures, but this remarkable fact has not percolated into national consciousness. Perhaps it\’s just too hard to believe that any government could do such a thing so blatantly. Research by the House of Commons library found the political match is near perfect: the more solidly Labour the district, the harsher its cuts; while the more blue Tory the shire, the less it is affected, with the Lib Dems in between.

This isn\’t an extraordinary fact: it\’s the point of the entire exercise.

The last government, you know, the Labour one, deliberately moved money (through the central grant allocation system) from the richer areas of the country to the poorer.

Maybe this is a good thing, maybe it isn\’t. But that was a deliberate political choice by said government. This government is simply reversing that choice. That might be a good thing, might be a bad thing.

But there\’s nothing extraordinary about a Red government taxing Blue areas to feed Red ones, nor about a Blue government reversing said policy.

Actually, both governments, Blue and Red, are acting exactly the way you would expect them to: pushing the government trough to their supporters. This is just what politicians do.

So why the surprise?

6 thoughts on “Yes Polly, this is the point”

  1. Oddly, had a similar argument with a Scouse Leftie, who pushed the same line.

    Checked the figures and Liverpool gets six times the money Dorset does, roughly. (Places like Newham get even more)

    That’s per capita as well.

    Now, yes, Liverpool has more poverty than Dorset, more social problems, undoubtedly – free school meals are 13% and 24% respectively.

    But I can’t fathom out why one Liverpudlian needs six times the money of one Dorset-dweller.

  2. It’s time for a sumptuary tax on the owners of villas in Tuscany. Can we all at least agree to that? Personally, I think it would be a good idea to append a surtax on any said owner who’s a stupid, ugly loudmouth, but Polly might not agree.

  3. “Now, yes, Liverpool has more poverty than Dorset, more social problems, undoubtedly…”

    A fact not unconnected to its habitual Labour voting, I suspect…

  4. Polly Toynbee, the “Marie Celeste” of newspaper columnists – all seemingly in perfect ship-shape, but absolutely no one on board ….

    Alan Douglas

  5. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    So the highly benefitted areas are to have less money next year? If the benefits work so well, surely these areas should be paying all the taxes next year. No?

  6. Having lived all my life in the north east, I have mixed emotions about this. While more money transfers for more failed government schemes is absolutely not what we need, I have little faith in the councils here to cut responsibly, as any pain will just be blamed on tory scum’

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