Thursday, 16 September 2010

How Resilient is Elmbridge?

Last week, the BBC published a report based on research by Experian (a credit checking business) which stated that Elmbridge (and Surrey) are amongst the areas of Britain most 'resilient' to economic shocks.

Good news, and little surprise at one level. We live in an affluent area with thriving local business and relatively low unemployment. However, that is no reason to take Elmbridge - or Surrey - for granted. The nation relies heavily on the billions of tax revenue generated locally each year - whilst we have pockets of deprivation that the last government's measures fail to capture. The local 'funding formula' - used to calculate the share of money we get back for local services - is heavily skewed against Surrey. That helps explain the state of our roads, pressure on school places and the dwindling number of police you see on the street.

We may be 'resilient', but if Surrey is to be treated like a cash cow for the rest of the country, we need proper investment in local infrastructure and public services. That is why I have joined, with my four Surrey backbench MP colleagues, in writing to the government requesting a change in the local funding formula. At a time of pressure on the public finances, that formula should be transparent and fair - based on an objective assessment of local need, not the last government's political priorities.


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