Whitehall has recognised being an Island costs more

MP Bob Seely has welcomed the Government stating it will consider the extra costs of being an Island and travelling to and from it when funding future services.

Ministers have undertaken a fairer funding review, which Bob and the Island’s council contributed to, and this is the first-time Whitehall has recognised being an island costs more.

In a summary, the review said: “Some local authorities will face unique cost pressures related to their geography; such as the costs associated with providing services on an island, or to a widely dispersed population in rural areas. The Government will therefore consider how the Area Cost Adjustment could be updated and improved to better reflect these sources of differences in costs.”

It also said: “The Isle of Wight is a uniquely isolated and remote authority as it is only possible to reach a major town or city from households on the island via a ferry journey. The Government therefore considers it necessary to take account of the additional time taken by ferry transport in any measure of remoteness, including the time taken on board the ferry and at embarkation and disembarkation.”

“These sentences represent an important victory for the Island. The Government for the first time is going to consider the costs of being an Island and look at updating and improving its funding formula as a result,” said Bob.

“This progress is the result of many meetings with ministers and the continual pushing of our case. The council and myself have worked hard together in Whitehall to ensure that the Island and its unique cost pressures are not overlooked.

“We need now to again explain why there are costs so that our services can be better funded, and how to reduce the cost of the ferries within the funding framework. The work will continue to press for fairer funding for our Island.”

Leader of the council Dave Stewart added: “We have been tireless in making a case for funding to recognise our unique Island status. This wording from Government is good news but ministers must now be left in no doubt why we need extra funding.”