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?