Tory-led councils in the south of England have been handed the lion’s share of £300 million to cope with deep spending cuts - while many Labour authorities in the north have been given nothing.
Ministers revealed Surrey, Hampshire and Hertfordshire will get the biggest cushion to deal with the next two years of local government austerity, which will see around £6 billion cut in England by 2019.
However, around 200 authorities, including many in inner-London, the Midlands and the north, do not get a penny.
Councils not to get any "transition" funding over the two years include: Carlisle, Barnsley, Barrow-in-Furness, Bassetlaw, Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolsover, Bolton, Bradford, Burnley, Darlington, Derby, Doncaster, Dudley, Durham, Gateshead, Hackney, Haringey, Hartlepool, Hounslow, Islington, Knowsley, Lambeth, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lewisham, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Preston, Redcar and Cleveland, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, South Tyneside, Southwark, St Helens, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Wakefield, Walsall, Waltham Forest, Wigan, Wirral and Wolverhampton.
The windfall, which had not been included in the provisional local government settlement announced before Christmas, follows fierce lobbying by Tory MPs, particularly in the rural shires over their fears their councils were being hardest hit by cuts.
Some Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against the funding deal if ministers refused to increase the money they were given – hugely embarrassing and potentially fatal given the Government's slim majority.
Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds hit out at the snub to some of the UK's poorest regions.
The MP for Stalybridge and Hyde in Greater Manchester told The Huffington Post UK: “Local government has been treated disgracefully by the Tories since 2010, with Northern-run metropolitan areas treated far worse than Southern shires.
“It is as if they are trying to bankrupt some Northern councils. This decision is another kick in the teeth for people who rely on essential services like social care.”
Authorities to get the biggest slice of the piece include David Cameron's Oxfordshire county council, Richmond-upon-Thames, which Tory London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith represents, and Devon in the South West, the region that helped swing the election for the Conservatives thanks to the demolition of the Lib Dems.
The top 20 are:
Surrey - £24.1m
Hampshire - £18.7m
Hertfordshire - £15.6m
Essex - £13.9m
West Sussex - £12.4m
Kent - £11.4m
Buckinghamshire - £9.2m
Oxfordshire - £8.9m
Leicestershire - £6.6m
Cambridgeshire - £6.4m
Wiltshire - £6m
Warwickshire - £6m
North Yorkshire - £6m
Cheshire East - £5.9m
Dorset - £5.9m
Richmond upon Thames - £5.8m
Devon - £5.6m
Staffordshire - £5.6m
East Sussex - 5.4
Worcestershire - £5m
Local Government Secretary Secretary Greg Clark told Parliament the “transition grant” was to help councils as they move towards an era of relying less on funding from local government and more from keeping money raised locally through business rates.
Mr Clark said: “These are important times for local government.
“The devolution of power and resources from Whitehall is gathering momentum.
“Today’s settlement means every council will have, for the financial year ahead, at least the resources allocated by the provisional settlement.
“In addition, we will provide transitional funding for the first two years of the Spending Review period for councils as they move from dependence on central Government grants to greater financial autonomy.
“The Government will continue to keep bills down with council tax still expected to be lower in real terms in 2019-20 than it was in 2009-10.”