By Andrew Pierce and James Kirkup
Gordon Brown has been accused of attempting to bribe
voters as new research shows that billions of pounds
of public money is being diverted from rural areas to
traditional Labour heartlands.
Official figures show that vast sums have been shifted
from Tory-leaning country shires and transferred to
Labour-supporting towns and cities over the past decade.
Councils in London are now receiving twice as much
per head of population from central government as their
rural counterparts, according to statistics from the
independent House of Commons Library.
The government funding gap between urban and rural
areas has grown dramatically since Labour came to power
The research is based on statistics provided by the
Commons Library to Philip Dunne, the Conservative MP
for Ludlow and chairman of the all-party parliamentary
group on rural services.
"Gordon Brown has a simple strategy to win the next
election: to bribe his areas of traditional strength
with money pinched from Tory-voting shires," Mr Dunne
told the Telegraph.
"Central government grants of all kinds to councils
and other public bodies have increased far faster in
cities and big towns than they have in country area.
"We have witnessed a deliberate policy of switching
taxpayers' money from the country to the city. It has
been done in secret, with no announcement, no public
debate, no explanation and no justification."
Much of local authorities' spending is on schools,
and the 20 councils with the biggest increases in education
funding are all Labour-controlled.
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