Dear Sir,

It was frustrating to see the Labour politicians finding nuances in the funding to Durham Council as a means to try to politicise the allocations at a time when we should be focusing on the prize of defeating the virus.

They have been active in the press and social media claiming Durham has been disadvantaged compared to Surrey et al in the 2nd tranche of the £1.6 billion paid to local authorities.

To share the facts with you, on a per head basis Durham received over 25% more than Surrey. There were two tranches of £1.6b shared between the local authorities and they are complaining because we got less in the 2nd tranche than the first. As a combined position over the 2 payments Durham received over £33 million but yes they did worse than Surrey in the second payment. This was due to the second payment including a catch up for the District Councils and Fire Authorities, as an example Durham and Darlington Fire Authority received almost 4 times as much in the second payment as it did in the first.

There are always going to be movements in the timing of payments and making selective comparisons for attempted political gain at this time is intensely disappointing and shows that even before we are through the crisis they are intent on politicising at any opportunity. This old Labour story is tiresome.

Paul Howell MP, MP for Sedgefield