WIGAN Council fears it may be one of the areas that is "hit the hardest" by a reallocation of local authority funding.

The Government's Fair Funding Review is underway and a report in The Guardian newspaper said hundreds of millions could be redirected from former Labour-run "red wall" areas such as Leigh to "leafy southern shires".

Based on analysis from Labour, the report claims more than £5.6m could be cut from Wigan Council.

A consultation of the review, which has been commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), is set to take place in spring.

Wigan Council leader Cllr David Molyneux said: “We wait in anticipation of the fair funding review and currently estimate we could lose between £4m and £6m.

“This is particularly odd as the Government say they recognise adult social care is under-funded and have allowed us to raise council tax by two per cent next year to spend on it.

"This will provide £2.4m yet we’re forecasting £6.25m additional costs to fund our adults services.

“There’s no doubt it’s looking likely authorities such as Wigan will be hit the hardest.

“I hope our MPs, particularly our new conservative Leigh MP, will be lobbying the Government to ensure our borough gets the funding it needs to run vital services which support our most vulnerable residents.

“We’ve already cut £140m from a budget which we’ll never see again.

"If these predictions are correct it will be disadvantaged areas which take the hit again.

“We’ll be awaiting the outcome.”

An LGA spokesman said: “This analysis does not represent LGA policy, an LGA policy proposal, or an LGA preference.

"It is an attempt to provide some information to councils that might help gauge the likely impact of the fair funding review on the relative distribution of adult social care funding.

“It is absolutely crucial that the Government provides official early exemplifications and consults on options as soon as possible.

“We remain clear that additional funding will be needed alongside the implementation of the Fair Funding Review and that no authority should lose out.

"This is the only way for it to be sustainable and for councils to be able to meet the significant cost and demand pressures they face now and in the future.”

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In response, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says Wigan Council will have access to £243.9m in 2020/21, a 7.6 per cent cash-terms increase in terms of spending power.

A MHCLG spokesman said: “As the LGA has made clear, these figures do not represent their policy, and are based on a number of assumptions.

"Funding allocations should be fair and based on the best available evidence.

“Councils should continue to use official Government data for their financial planning.”

In response to the analysis in The Guardian report, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick tweeted: "We’ve just announced the best funding settlement for local government in a decade - a 4.4 per cent real terms increase.

"We’re committed to levelling up all parts of this country.

"These figures are speculation and local councils shouldn’t pay any heed to them."

Leigh MP James Grundy added: "I am disappointed there are these sort of figures on the basis of speculation.

"It is important that councils use official government data for their financial planning."