THE council’s leadership has clashed with MP Andy Carter amid claims over an extra £8 million for the town following a Government boost.

Conservative Mr Carter, who holds the Warrington South seat, has welcomed what he described as the biggest funding boost for councils in a decade.

He says the local government finance settlement will see the borough’s budget increase by six per cent this year, with the town having an extra £8 million to spend.

The Tories say local authorities will have access to more than £5.5 billion of dedicated funding across adult and children’s social care in 2020-21 as part of the settlement.

In September, the Government invited 101 places – including Warrington – to bring forward proposals for a Town Deal as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

The Warrington Town Deal board has been set up to identify areas where a ‘compelling case’ for up to £25 million in funding can be put forward to contribute to, and complement, the work already being delivered to regenerate the town.

Part of the bid process requires the board to produce an investment plan to detail its ambitions and areas where funding would be welcomed.

But Mr Carter says Warrington has an additional £25 million ‘ring-fenced’ as part of the Town Deal.

He said: “Warrington Borough Council plays a vital role in our communities, providing the crucial local services that people rely on every day.

“I am delighted that the Conservative Government has confirmed Warrington will have additional £8 million funding this year, which will help our local leaders make positive change in the area.

“The Conservatives were elected on a promise to level up local communities across the whole country, and with this funding increase, we can start to do exactly that, ensuring everyone lives in a community they can be proud of.

“I’ll continue to push for additional resource for our town, levelling up is a real priority for me.”

Warrington Guardian:

Town Hall

But the comments have been criticised by the Labour-run council’s leadership.

Leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “After inflicting cuts of 60p in the pound on councils since 2010, it really does take some neck to trumpet increased funding.

“As is always the case, this is just more Tory Government ‘smoke and mirrors’ that doesn’t even begin to tell the real story.

“This press release shows that the Government want to take credit for any increase, regardless of where it comes from.

“Shunting the burden of adult social care onto council taxpayers through a two per cent precept isn’t money from Government – it is money from hard-pressed Warrington residents.

“The simple truth is that the Government is shirking its responsibilities over properly funding local services.

“We are succeeding in Warrington despite this wretched Tory Government, not because of them.”

Deputy Cllr Cathy Mitchell, portfolio holder for corporate finance, called on the public to ‘read the small print’ when the Tories make grand announcements, such as this one.

She added: “£1.3 million of this supposed increased funding is from New Homes Bonus.

“That is money that we already expected to receive and have budgeted for.

“This will disappear next year and leave us with another funding gap to fill.

“£4.6 million is ring-fenced funding for adult social care. While this is welcomed, it is a sticking plaster that doesn’t cover the rising costs and increased demand.

“The remaining £2.3 million is what residents are paying in the adult social care precept.

“It is ridiculous to claim that this is new Government funding.

“For next year, the council is facing a £14.1 million funding shortfall to provide the valuable services that our residents rely upon, especially the most vulnerable.”

“It beggars belief that the Tories are talking about increased funding when the stark reality is the complete opposite.”