Tory austerity has decimated local councils – enough is enough

The Conservative leader of Surrey County Council, which covers the Chancellor Philip Hammond's own constituency, said: ‘We're facing the most difficult financial crisis in our history. The Government cannot stand idly by when Rome burns’

Andrew Gwynne
Thursday 22 March 2018 17:08
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Under the Tories, house building crashed to its lowest levels since the 1920s
Under the Tories, house building crashed to its lowest levels since the 1920s

After eight years of austerity from the Tories it’s clear that the Government has abandoned local communities to fend for themselves.

House building has crashed to its lowest levels since the 1920s and more and more people are becoming homeless or going into temporary accommodation. The safety of our communities has been put at risk after cuts of over 20,000 police officers, and older people are not living with the dignity and comfort they deserve because of cuts to social care.

These cuts are deeply unfair – local councils with the greatest needs have been hit hardest. People have had enough of cuts to vital services that are hurting our local communities, and of failed privatisations that suck funds out of public services so a few can make a profit.

In Northamptonshire, things have got so bad that the county council has completely collapsed. The Conservative leader of Surrey County Council, which covers the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s own constituency, said: “We’re facing the most difficult financial crisis in our history. The Government cannot stand idly by when Rome burns.”

When your children’s school is losing teachers and forced to send letters asking for money to pay for pens and pencils, or their youth centre is closed, that’s because the Conservative priority is tax breaks for big business.

And when your elderly relatives are neglected because of a lack of social care, remember that the Conservatives have given billions in tax giveaways for a few people at the top.

Contrary to the spin, struggling taxpayers now face rising council tax bills because of the Conservatives’ cuts. The message from Theresa May could not be clearer: pay more for less under the Conservatives.

But local elections are coming up on 3 May, and communities have the opportunity to vote for change. On housing, the Labour Party will build 100,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy each year by the end of the next Parliament, including the biggest council house building programme in more than 30 years.

On social care, it will put £8bn in over the next Parliament plus £1bn in the first year to ease the immediate crisis and bring relief to families suffering across the country as a result of Tory underfunding.

And on policing, it plans to recruit 10,000 new police officers to keep communities safe.

Communities can and should send a message to the Government on the 3 May that they have had enough of Tory cuts.

Andrew Gwynne is Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

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