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Credit crunch cash handout to Solihull Council is 'a drop in the ocean'

THE leader of Solihull Council has branded a paltry Government grant to help mitigate the effects of the credit crunch as "a drop in the ocean".

THE leader of Solihull Council has branded a paltry Government grant to help mitigate the effects of the credit crunch as "a drop in the ocean".

The local authority is one of 360 across England to receive cash - which the Government hopes will help in those communities which have been affected by the downturn.

However, the Solihull hand-out stands at just £40,079, a sum which council leader Ken Meeson was nowhere near enough.

Larger authorities have received a far bigger slice of the £11m which has been put aside for the West Midlands as a whole.

Birmingham will get £3,008,663 and Coventry is to receive £1,077,249.

Other councils that make up the seven authorities in the West Midlands have also fared far better than Solihull for cash handouts.

Walsall gets more than £314,000 while Dudley’s fuigure is in excess of £330,000.

Wolverhampton too has been awarded more than half-a-million pounds with Sandwell getting over £637,000.

Even Lichfield, which has a far smaller population than Solihull has been awarded almost £300,000.

With Solihull already proposing an inflation-busting council tax rise of almost five per cent the news comes as another blow to the cash-strapped authority.

Solihull Council chiefs have already gone to the Government cap in hand to plead for additional funding in recent years but to no avail.

The authority has maintained it is unfairly penalised, despite having wards in Solihull which are among the mosrt deprived areas in the country.

Cllr Ken Meeson, leader of Solihull Council, said the amount was too small to make much difference.

He said: "This is really just a drop in the ocean for us. The only thing that it might help towards is the cost of advice that we provide for people. But even so, we would need far more money to make a real difference."

This new funding has been made available by Local Authority Business Growth Incentives Scheme (LABGI)

John Healy, Local Government Minister, said that the money would be a "real boost" to councils’ coffers.

Mr Healey said: " Over the last three years, the LABGI scheme has made a real difference to local communities - in these difficult economic times, it has an even more important role to play.

"Different parts of the country will be affected by this downturn in different ways and to different degrees - as these pressures are being felt by families and businesses, councils are best placed to provide real help locally, tailored to local needs, to help people to stay in their homes and their jobs.

"So I am pleased to be able to confirm the share of £100m that councils will get, with no strings attached and extra to the core grant they receive, which will be a real boost to councils’ coffers as they provide much-needed support to their communities - particularly in these tough economic times."



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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