Labour council leaders vow to resist further cuts

18 Nov 15
Labour shadow ministers and seven council leaders have warned that cuts to local government are hitting those most in need of help and further reductions risk undermining the fabric of communities.

Yesterday shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood met with seven local leaders, including Sir Richard Leese from Manchester City Council and Joe Anderson, the elected mayor of Liverpool.

A statement released after the meeting asserted that Labour-run authorities would continue to defend local communities and protect those who rely on public services.

However, ahead of next week’s Spending Review, they warned cuts to local authorities were closing libraries, children’s centres and youth services, as well as leading to cuts in adult social care and a growing road repair backlog.

“The cuts are ideologically driven, unfairly distributed [and] are putting pressure on all other public services,” the statement said.

It highlighted Institute for Fiscal Studies research showing reductions in council spending had been higher in poorer areas than wealthier areas.

In addition, plans to fund the extension of Right to Buy to social housing tenants through the sale of councils homes demonstrated a strategy to “abdicate responsibility for the worst decisions they are making”, the leaders said.

“The government responsible for reducing funding to such intolerable levels is attempting to lay the blame at the feet of local councillors.

“It is time to bring unfair cuts to an end and to set up fair and sustainable funding for local communities and the services they rely on.”

Other council leaders who put their name to the statement were: Lewisham mayor Steve Bullock; Nottingham deputy leader Graham Chapman; Tameside leader Kieran Quinn; Stevenage leader Sharon Taylor; and Derbyshire leader Anne Western.

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