Saturday, January 23, 2016

Conservative councils protest against the scale of spending cuts

Leicestershire's Conservative MPs  were busy retweeting this photograph last week.

It shows them and the Conservative leader of the county council Nick Rushton meeting the local government minister Marcus Jones to press the case for more generous funding for Leicestershire.

The Leicester Mercury quoted Sir Edward Garnier, MP for Harborough:
"The difficult financial situation for Leicestershire County Council means that unless we get an improved funding arrangement, the services that vulnerable people need the most will have to be cut. I know the Minister fully understands the case we made and took into account our concerns as Leicestershire MPs and those of Coun Rushton. We will wait to see what transpires over the next few weeks."
I would love to see a more generous settlement for Leicestershire, particularly if Rushton is right to say that we are the lowest funded county council.

But we are not the only Tory-run county asking for more.

Over to the Shropshire Star and the new leader of the council there:
Shropshire Council leaders today called for Government help to stave off the impact of multi-million pound budget cuts. 
Council leader Malcolm Pate and the authority’s chief executive Clive Wright warned that without assistance they face a considerable reduction in the county’s services. 
They have urged either an increase in the amount they can raise in council tax or an alteration of the formula by which councils receive central Government funding.
The formula cannot be unfair to everybody, so It looks as though Conservatives are really complaining that central government funding is not generous enough. Even David Cameron has been at it.

And they are right. It is not just the slightly quaint things this blog has a weakness for that will suffer - rural bus services, branch libraries - but central services like adult social care.

If there is a country vs court rebellion in the Conservative party, with their council leaders rebelling against the cuts they are being compelled to implement, all Liberal Democrats should welcome it.

For the time being, tax cuts should be off our agenda.

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