Government to investigate after Huppert highlights population error
Fears that Cambridge could receive lower grant aid from the government after it decided the city’s population is in decline are to be investigated after MP Julian Huppert raised the issue in the House of Commons yesterday (Monday, November 12).
Julian told Parliament that the mistake was made by the Office of National Statistics which continues to predict a decline despite the fact that Cambridge’s population grew by 15,000 in the last 10 years and more building is still taking place.
He raised the issue with Communities and Local Government Minister, Brandon Lewis asking for assurances that the correct figures would be used to allocate funding.
Mr Lewis agreed to meet Julian to discuss the issue and arrangements are being made for this to take place.
“The Office of National Statistics population model, which incorrectly predicted a decline in population in the last census period continues, unbelievably, to project a decline,” he said.
“What advice can the Secretary of State give me that his department will use more appropriate population figures particularly when considering funding?”
Mr Lewis said that when deciding grant funding allocation for 2013/14, the government will use “the most up-to-date and nationally consistent data available”.
But he added that he was very aware that “there is real concern over the numbers as they relate to Cambridge.”
Julian said later: “It is encouraging that the Minister has acknowledged my concerns in this matter. It is crucial that the government understands the true picture in Cambridge when it is deciding how much money this city should receive.
“Our city is growing fast and unless this growth in population is recognised nationally we may not receive the money to which we are entitled and need for infrastructure and community facilities. Clearly, if the government acts on incorrect data it could have serious consequences for Cambridge’s growth and future prosperity.”