“The formulae that Whitehall uses to divide up precious resources to different people and places can be complex, arbitrary and often indefensible. In recent years, eyebrows have been raised — and corrective action taken — over the unfair distribution of A-level grades, local housing quotas, and transport investment. But there is one algorithm whose blatant unfairness and rampant anachronism remains wholly unreformed: the local government funding formula.
The problem is not so much the formula itself but the data that goes into it. It’s well known that the property values it relies on have not been updated since 1991, in spite of London house prices surging from 1.4 times to 1.9 times the England average in the past thirty years since. Less well understood is that the current formula also draws on traffic data from the last Labour government, unemployment data gathered in the depths of the post-2008 labour market, and population data from 2001, before Tony Blair’s failure to enforce accession controls on new EU countries drastically swelled migration flows to the UK…”
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