The government announced a £300 million transitional fund for local authorities – then handed nearly all of it to Tory councils.
85 per cent of the additional money will go to Conservative-run areas and barely 6 per cent to Labour-run areas, despite the fact that those Labour areas have suffered far bigger cuts since 2010. Councils like Bolton, Manchester, Oldham and Wigan in Greater Manchester have been hit hard by Tory cuts yet they won’t get a penny of this additional funding. Meanwhile, Cheshire East, where George Osborne’s constituency lies, will receive nearly £6 million in additional support.
Tory Ministers have told councils to impose a 2 per cent council tax rise every year for four years to try to plug the gap in social care funding, but even that does not raise anywhere near enough to pay for the care that older people in the North West need. Taxpayers in Greater Manchester will pay more, but they will get less in return.
Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, Stephen Twigg said:
“Social care is the tip of the iceberg. The Tories’ local government settlement will result in cuts to many front-line services. It will mean cuts to youth services, fixing potholes, cleaning the streets, emptying the bins, looking after parks, keeping the streetlights on at night, Sure Start children’s centres, libraries, museums and rural bus services: all services that our local communities rely on.”
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the approach of the Tory Government is to cut funding and then leave councils to take the blame. The effect will be tax hikes and service cuts which damage the quality of life in every community up and down this country.”
“Labour council leaders have fought tirelessly to deliver for our area. Only Labour will stand up for local communities in the North West. Only Labour in local government will put fairness at the heart of its decision making.”
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, MP for Oldham West and Royton Jim McMahon said:
“The term ‘lions led by donkeys’ could not be used more aptly than when we look at the relationship between central Government and local councillors, who are the frontline in delivering services and often the last line of defence for the communities they serve.
“Oldham’s £200 million of cuts mean that more than half of the town’s money has been taken away by the Government. As demand for support has increased, money has been withdrawn. We have had a raw settlement and a raw deal from this Government.
“Meanwhile, Trafford is the most affluent borough in Greater Manchester. It has the highest council tax, the highest business rate base, and the healthiest budget as a result of this Government’s policies. Yet it is the only council in Greater Manchester to receive the government’s transitional grant and just happens to be the place where the Local Government Minister lives.
“The Government have been warned time and time again that removing money from preventative services would only move costs on to other parts of government. That makes things worse for the people we represent, and it saves the Government no money whatsoever.”