Calderdale labour leader Tim Swift today sets out a strong case for the Conservative Government to rethink their policies of repeated cuts to local government spending, warning that they are putting at risk the local services that residents expect and depend upon.
Cllr Swift sets out his case in a letter to the Chancellor Philip Hammond and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid, calling for them to rethink the cuts to local government which had been planned by Mr Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne.
Cllr Swift said:
“The new Chancellor has already said that he will look again at the spending plans he inherited from George Osborne. And he has admitted that Mr Osborne’s deficit reduction targets should be dropped – which undermines any case for the scale of cuts facing local government.
“Conservative attacks on local government in general, and on northern councils in particular, have been excessive and unfair, as I’ve set out in my letter. In Calderdale, we’ve already had to make savings of £93 million – and unless there’s a change in policy, we’ll need to find further cuts of £13.3m over the next three years.
“When we consulted local people before our last budget, they told us that they thought the cuts had already gone too far. Now it’s time to see if the Government will finally listen.”
In the letter – attached below – Cllr Swift argues:
- There is strong support for local services. decisions about them should be taken locally not nationally;
- Local services play a key role in holding communities together in hard times and in shaping responses to crises like the flooding that hit Calderdale on Boxing Day 2015;
- Local councils are well placed to make immediate investments in capital – not major infrastructure projects that take many years, but immediate spending on repairing and improving schools, highway investment and small housing schemes, which strengthen communities and create jobs at a time of economic uncertainty.