Cameron slams councils that complain about cuts
By Richard Johnstone | 19 April 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron has hit out at Labour councils opposing government cuts, saying they ‘just don’t get’ the need to reduce the deficit.
Launching the Conservative campaign for the local elections in England on May 2, Cameron said the Westminster government was getting the deficit down and reforming the welfare system.
The government’s Localism Act had empowered local government, so local elections now mattered more than in the past, he added. Other reforms that had given more power to local authorities included the abolition of regional spatial strategies and Government Offices for the Regions, he said.
‘We’ve given councils much, much more freedom and guess what? It’s Conservative councils who have run with it,’ he said in the launch of the party’s campaign in Warwickshire.
However, he accused some Labour councils of not taking advantage of the changes, and instead wasting public money while complaining about the impact of spending cuts.
Last December, the leaders of three English city councils – Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield – warned that the government’s spending cuts could ‘contribute to the breakup of civil society’.
Cameron said today: ‘There are some councils – some Labour councils – who just don’t get it. On the one hand they’re talking about spending cuts meaning “the break-up of civil society”.
‘On the other, they’re still spending your money like it’s theirs.’
He said that Conservatives would tackle the ‘waste and propaganda’ of Labour authorities, such as council newspapers, and provide ‘good government that costs less’.
Cameron praised all the authorities that had accepted the government’s offer of funding to freeze council tax bills in 2013/14, saying that there was ‘a clear moral imperative to keep that tax down’.
He also highlighted the success of coalition government’s plan to reinvigorate the right to buy initiative, which had allowed more people to buy their council homes.
The Green Party of England and Wales also launched its campaign today. Leader Natalie Bennett said Green councillors opposed the government's welfare cuts, supported low-paid workers and protected the green belt.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats launched their campaigns on April 8. Votes in 37 county, unitary and mayoral elections will be held next month.