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Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Sunday, 7 March 2010

East Midlands 'most underfunded region in the UK'

By Allister Craddock
Politics Show, BBC East Midlands

East Midlands transport spending 46% less than national average

The East Midlands Politics Show reveals that based on need, the region is the most underfunded in the UK.

The regional select committee is about to publish a report in March highlighting some of the most glaring deficits.

A breakdown of Government figures by the East Midlands Regional Assembly shows the region gets just 46% less than the UK average for housing and community facilities - £114 a head compared with £212 nationally.

On transport, the disparity is almost as bad at 39%. And the amount the region gets for police and fire services is 20% less than the UK average.

The Conservative leader of Leicestershire County Council, David Parsons, is scathing.

"On the West Coast rail line, they spend more on car park renovation that they do on the whole of the Midlands Main Line. It's outrageous."

So how has it been allowed to happen?

Paddy Tipping
Mr Tipping believes region is 'too timid' at fighting its corner

The chairman of the regional select committee, Labour MP Paddy Tipping, tells the Politics Show:

"There are strong regional identities elsewhere. The North West or the North East have always argued their case.

"We've been a bit timid in the East Midlands when it comes to regionalism."

He is particularly concerned at the deficit on police funding.

"They have been underfunded for many years. We've made some progress, but there's a long way to go."

The chief executive of the outgoing regional assembly, Stuart Young, says he believes part of the problem is the Government's criteria.

He insists they're "too rigid and too complicated".

Andrew Pritchard, the assembly's director of housing and planning, says the region doesn't get anything like what it needs for affordable housing or improving existing homes.

Meeting targets for new homes is difficult enough, he says. But the funding deficit and the state of the economy makes it even less likely.

The Politics Show broadcasts at 1200 GMT on BBC One and for seven days after on the BBC iPlayer.


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