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We need 'One Voice' for Worcestershire, says council
A NEW 'One Voice' campaign is kicking off in Worcestershire - amid fears the county is missing out on millions of potential funding.
Worcestershire County Council wants to launch a new campaign aimed at bringing together the entire public sector.
It will call for "a better deal" for the district councils, NHS, police and fire service, uniting all the county's key players to speak as one.
The campaign follows years of concern that Worcestershire is getting a raw deal from Whitehall for public services, particularly in education where out of 151 areas, the county languishes at 146.
The Government has pledged to make school funding fairer before the 2015 general election but concerns are growing about other services too.
The county council and Hereford & Worcestershire Fire & Rescue Service are also in the bottom third in terms of national funding grants.
During a full council meeting, politicians of all parties agreed to back a motion calling for 'One Voice' to be co-ordinated by the Conservative leadership County Hall.
Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: "As every day goes by we become more like a third world country.
"The only way we will get better is if we come together and all join up to get Worcestershire a better deal."
Councillor Alan Amos, also from Labour said it was time that all politicians came together "with a common purpose".
He said: "As politicians we often have a difference of opinion, of philosophy, but that's good because that's democracy.
"But the work we do, in committees and panels, means we often come together in common agreement, although of course that is rarely seen by the general public."
County council funding per head for people in Worcestershire, directly from the Government, is £227 compared to £248 nationally, and due to unprecedented cuts the authority needs to save around £99 million by 2018.
The motion, created by Labour, was voted through after some amendments by the Conservatives so it mentioned past efforts to get better funding.
Councillor John Campion, Conservative cabinet member for transformation and commissioning said: "I absolutely think this needs to be sorted out.
"It was a failure of the last Labour Government not to do that, and a failure of the current one not to make funding more transparent."
Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health, added: "I do think we have a cross-party duty to lobby the Government - as a mixed county, urban and rural, we should fight for fairer funding."