The hardest hit

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WIGAN Council is one of the local authorities hit hardest by Government austerity measures.

Following a national analysis of local authorities’ funding cuts, Wigan was revealed to be the 51st worst-hit council in the country with a £108.40 reduction in spending per head of population.

Manchester Council was the fifth hardest hit in the country with average reduction of £209.96 per person and all but nine of the top 60 councils hardest hit were Labour-run authorities.

However, the figures did not reveal how much the amounts cut counted as a percentage of what is spent by councils per head of population in the first place.

Nationally, the average spending reduction is placed at around £61 per head, with significantly more Tory councils cutting less than the national average.

The Government claims its formula grant – the main source of funding to councils – has been fairly calculated.

The analysis – which has been carried out by Newcastle Council and takes in a number of funding streams from Whitehall – comes as town halls brace themselves for their next round of central government cuts, due next month.

Councils across Greater Manchester have already had to make tens of millions of pounds of cuts to services and have ushered in thousands of job losses after losing a total of £341m between them in the 2010 announcement.

The news has brought about criticism from the Labour MP for Makerfield, Yvonne Fovargue.

She said: “We all knew the cuts were being targeted in an unfair way.

“Pickles’s Poll Tax - council tax rises for the poorest – come in on the same day as a tax cut for millionaires.

“But this new information shows that Tories and Liberals have actually targeted cuts at the most deprived communities.

“David Cameron’s local authority of West Oxfordshire loses only £34.33 per head compared to £108.40 here in Wigan.”

However, the statistics have been rubbished by the coalition government.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis said: “These are baseless, desperate accusations being peddled by the Labour party.

“Councils’ total expenditure is estimated to be £114.4bn in England in 2012-13 and funding is distributed in a fair and sustainable way across all parts of the country – rural and urban, metropolitan and shire.

“Given councils account for a quarter of all public spending, it is vital they continue to play their part in tackling Labour’s budget deficit by making sensible savings through better procurement, greater transparency and sharing back offices.”