Labour Council Leaders Reject Cuts
In early December, Lambeth Council Leader Cllr Lib Peck was among almost 80 Labour council leaders to write to communities secretary James Brokenshire, to demand the cancellation of a forthcoming £1.3bn funding cut to councils.
The letter comes amid warnings from several councils that they are facing bankruptcy, with Tory-run Northamptonshire county council already effectively being bailed out by the government. With the anticipated cut to the Revenue Support Grant, by 2020, councils will have lost 60p of every £1 given by central government since 2010.
“As leaders of councils representing millions of citizens, we are writing to make clear that you must use the settlement to truly end austerity in local government and immediately provide the funding we need to avoid catastrophic collapse in key council services,” council leaders write.
“The most deprived areas of the country have been hit much harder than the richest areas – nine of the 10 most deprived councils in the country have seen cuts of almost three times the national average. After eight years of austerity, many councils have reached breaking point and council budgets are perilously close to collapse.”
“At an absolute minimum, you must use the funding settlement to cancel the planned further cut of £1.3bn to next year’s Revenue Support Grant. To blindly press on with further cuts at a time when local government is on the brink of collapse would be hugely irresponsible.”
Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth Council leader, said: “Labour councils across the country are united in saying that enough is enough – councils can’t afford to take any more cuts after a decade of austerity. Even Conservative councils are now calling on their government to stop further cuts, but the Tories in Westminster are completely failing to listen.
“Eight years of cuts, on top of increased demand and cuts to other public services like schools and the NHS are pushing councils to breaking point. We’re working hard to protect services for vulnerable people despite the cuts – but we need the government to listen to councils and to end austerity now.”