Portsmouth MPs criticised for not securing more money to protect city services

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond

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PORTSMOUTH’S MPs have been criticised for not doing more to secure money to protect services in the city.

Penny Mordaunt and Flick Drummond voted with the government on the final revenue cash packages – covering a range of day-to-day costs – supplied to councils across the country.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt

Portsmouth City Council will have its funding reduced by £23m over the next four years, while other councils in the region have recently had top-ups in their budgets.

Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex councils all benefited from extra cash, but the city didn’t get anything more.

Ms Mordaunt and Mrs Drummond argue the city will benefit in the long run – but critics say the MPs should have stuck up for their constituents.

Portsmouth Lib Dem group leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘The government has found an extra £416m to give to councils in different areas. Hampshire got £9.3m, West Sussex got £6.2m, Dorset got £4.1m – yet Portsmouth got nothing.

The people of this city will be really disappointed. Most people expect their MPs to put Portsmouth first, and not party politics, and yet they have done the opposite.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth Lib Dem group leader

‘My expectation is that the primary job of our MPs is to look after Portsmouth.

‘The people of this city will be disappointed. Most people expect their MPs to put Portsmouth first, and not party politics, and yet they have done the opposite. Any councillor, from any party, will tell you that funding is very difficult.

‘Our MPs can’t be deaf to that.

‘They must know money for the domestic violence unit is being cut, they must know school crossing patrols are being cut, they must know maintenance to the sea wall is being cut.’

But Ms Mordaunt, who represents Portsmouth North, said: ‘Those councils that have benefited have been getting less than us.

‘There were factors around this. Mainly we’re treated more favourably. Hampshire was not getting as much, it argued for more, so they got it. But it’s still not what we are getting.’

Ms Mordaunt said she lobbied for Hampshire to get more cash to provide care for people in order to stop ‘bed blockages’ at Queen Alexandra Hospital – which would benefit the city.

She added: ‘Portsmouth’s funding over the next couple of years will plateau, but towards the end of parliament it will go up, so we will be getting more money.

‘The economy is growing.’

Mrs Drummond said she was voting in favour of ‘the whole package’ being provided to councils for services and there was no debate on individual areas.

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