THE report “Concerns over changes in crisis funding” (Echo, May 13) about the Government’s formula for the allocation of extra funding to support local councils in their efforts to help their residents during the Covid-19 crisis, makes clear that the second tranche will be allocated on a population basis and take no account of levels of deprivation.

This means County Durham, with some very significant areas of deprivation, will receive £4m less than the first tranche, while affluent Surrey gets another £8m.

This is at a time when the highest rates of Covid infection are in the North-East.

The comment by the three County Durham Tory MPs that “Labour politicians seeking to make a name for themselves by conducting megaphone diplomacy on baseless hypotheticals does not help anyone” is a snide and unjustified attack on Kevan Jones MP, who wrote to the Communities Secretary to protest about this funding reduction.

Kevan Jones, who has years of experience and distinguished service as an MP in contrast with these three newcomers, is doing what they should be doing and standing up for his constituents instead of justifying government unfairness.

A loss of £4m is not “baseless hypotheticals” but a continuation of what we have seen for years – a Conservative government that has treated the North-East unfairly when it comes to funding local government, the police, public health ... I could go on. If the people of County Durham were hoping that by electing Tory MPs they would see fairer treatment from the Government, then there is so far little evidence to suggest their hopes will be realised.

Heather Smith, Labour county councillor for Evenwood.