Provincial mayors say Copenhagen getting too much support

Smaller councils banding together to cut the capital region’s slice of the pie

Six east Jutland councils yesterday added their voices to those calling for a more equal distribution of state cash around the country.

That means that 16 provincial areas – with Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg taking the lead – are now saying that the system gives too much money to councils in and around the capital region.

The six new councils jumping into the fray are Skanderborg, Hedensted, Syddjurs, Favrskov, Odder and Silkeborg. 

A more equal split
They issued a joint statement calling for the abolishment of a council equalisation system that they say favours Copenhagen. The system helps councils deliver services decided on by parliament. The calculations take things like local economic conditions, services and the local tax base into account. 

The provincial mayors say the reckoning sends an unequal amount of money to Copenhagen’s needy neighbourhoods and not enough to other cities in Denmark.

An antiquated formula
Jacob Bundgaard, Aarhus’s mayor, said the system used was created in the 1930s when Copenhagen was in a much worse economic condition than it is today.

“The system has outlived itself and creates an A and B team in Denmark,” Bundgaard told Jyllands-Posten. “It is okay there is a poor council outside of the capital region, but not okay for there to be a poor council in the Copenhagen area.”

The councils looking for changes said the current system does not adequately taken into account that the cost of municipal services is higher in councils with large populations of children and the elderly. They claim the system underestimates the amount spent on social services, including those for immigrants, outside of major metropolitan areas.

READ MORE: Poverty on the rise throughout Denmark

However, Frank Jensen, Copenhagen’s mayor, said his city needs every kroner it gets.

"Yes, Copenhagen is growing and we are creating jobs, but it is nonsense to suggest that we are a rich man's club,” Jensen told Jyllands-Posten.

“We have more than twice as many poor per capita and almost three times as many homeless and drug addicts as the rest of the country."