June 18 2013 Latest news:
Max Walters, Reporter
Sunday, August 5, 2012
It is estimated that the borough has 40,000 more residents than reported
Brent has missed out on millions of pounds worth of vital funding to tackle school places and a housing epidemic due to inaccurate population estimates, it has been warned.
The census figures, released last week, show that Brent has 40,000 more residents than estimated and politicians have called on the government to increase funding as a result.
Funding for local government is provided for by the department for communities and local government, (DCLG).
However, according to Cllr Zafar Van Kalwala, the borough is losing out on £25m worth of funding every year.
The Stonebridge ward councillor told the Times: “Brent desperately needs more money to invest in schools, housing and transport. Our population has clearly gone up by 15 per cent.”
“Government funding urgently needs to go up by the same amount otherwise we may not be able to cope with all the demands and pressures for local services”
The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), placed Brent 15h in a list of the most populated authorities nationwide and 14th for population density.
A spokesman for the DCLG admitted they intended to use the latest figures when making the next finance settlement adding that they would shortly be consulting on it.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: “In Brent there are thousands of residents that the Government does not give us money to provide services for.
“This massive oversight means we have had to make deeper cuts to services than we should have had to.”
During the last year the council has axed a number of community services in cost cutting drives including, libraries and day care centres.
An ONS spokesman admitted they had learned that they need to work much more closely with local authorities.
However, he added: “The methods for producing the census estimates have been thoroughly reviewed and the estimates themselves have been extensively quality assured against a number of different data sources including information provided by local authorities.
“We recognise that we need to keep a dialogue going and we are happy to provide a further explanation of our approach and discuss any questions that authorities may have.”