Simon, together with Council Leaders and fellow Dorset MPs met Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Local Government to make the case for additional funds to come into the County for the next two years. In a debate in January Simon Hoare had told the Government that he would not be able to support the draft Local Government Funding Settlement unless it had a greater amount of fairness and equity.
In an Oral Statement on 8th February Mr Clark announced the following additional funds for the Councils that cover the North Dorset Constituency:
Council 2016/17 2017/19
Dorset County Council £4.1 million £3.51 million
North Dorset District Council £227,000 £112,000
East Dorset District Council £145,000 £ 80,000
Mr Clark also agreed to Simon’s call for there to be the opportunity for Councils to raise their Council Tax by £5.00 per annum if that sum was greater than a 2% increase. Mr Clark has also agreed to Simon’s call for local Councils to be able to set their own planning fees as currently the system is subsidised by local Council Tax Payers. Simon, along with other Conservative MPs, had called for a fundamental review of the methodology used to calculate rural need and the costs of delivering services in sparsely populated rural areas. The Government has agreed to this as well and it will be a key element in deciding how much Business Rates are retained by Dorset’s councils when they are localised.
Commenting, Simon said:
“I really am delighted by this news. The Government consulted, listened and has responded to our very strong demands for extra funding for Dorset. I made four key demands of Government and they have reacted favourably to all of them. During the election campaign I pledged that I would work to ensure Dorset received a fairer slice of the funding cake and I have delivered on that pledge.”