Leader's CommentNews

Labour Leader Slams Minister’s ‘Orwellian’ Response to Austerity

Stockport Labour Leader and Leader of the Council, Cllr Alex Ganotis, has reacted angrily to the government’s response to calls for an end to austerity.

Late last year, a Labour motion to full council backed calls for an end to austerity following which the council wrote to the chancellor of the exchequer outlining our very grave concerns over slashed budgets and local government’s ability to provide vital day-to-day local services.

The government’s reply to that letter (which you can read here) prompted Cllr Ganotis to respond:

“Since 2010 this Tory government – and the coalition government before it – has massively slashed our budget year after year. The minister claims they’re making “real terms increases” which is nonsense. What they mean is they’re allowing councils to make above inflation rises in council tax.

“They then have the nerve to attack Labour councils, which tend to have more spending need, for increasing council tax by more than Tory shires!  It’s Orwellian.

“Local government is harder hit by austerity than any other part of the public sector and it’s the most vulnerable who rely on children’s services and adult social care that are paying the price.”

This comes in the same week that the first local authority to run out of money after over seven years of austerity is the Tory run Northamptonshire County Council. The leader of the council there cites “the perfect storm” of government cuts and increasing demand for services.

Even the Tory leader of the Local Government Association has said, “Councils can no longer be expected to run our vital local services on a shoestring. We must shout from the rooftops for local government to be put back on a sustainable financial footing.”

Will the government finally sit up and take notice of the unrelenting damage caused by austerity? We’re not holding our breath.

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