Jenny Chapman MP

JENNY CHAPMAN

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It's the richest councils that get the handouts

Jenny has accused the Government of bribery after the Chancellor handed hundreds of millions of pounds to the wealthiest Tory councils this week to ease the pain of spending cuts -- while Darlington gets nothing.

Darlington has been hard-hit since 2010 -- with its Government grant halved over the 20 years to 2020 -- but has received nothing at all in the latest announcement.

But leafy Surrey -- one of England's richest shires -- gets a handout of £24m despite suffering far fewer cuts in recent years.

The handout comes after Tory MPs became alarmed when they realised their areas might see cuts similar to those imposed on Labour councils. They threatened a revolt until Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced a £300m "transitional grant". The Government will not say where the money comes from.

Labour analysis shows that £255m  of the grant  -- 85% -- goes to Tory councils. Labour areas receive just £17m despite suffering the harshest cuts since 2010 and having higher levels of deprivation.

Today, Jenny said: "Under this Government, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. This latest handout to the better-off is just one more example. It's a bribe to persuade nervous Tory MPs to see the cuts through."

Jenny has tabled an Early Day Motion to try to get a debate on the cuts.

Steve Reed MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government, said: "The Government is covering up where this money has come from and won't explain why almost all of it is being handed to Tory councils just weeks before council elections in may areas.

"Councils that have already been cut to the bone since 2010 are getting nothing but more cuts. The Tories have picked millions of pounds from taxpayers' pockets to buy off their own MPs when faced with a rebellion in the Commons.

"This is a blatant misuse of public money in a shameless attempt to buy-off Tory MPs."

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