BY TOBY PORTER
Labour councillors across the UK have joined forces to call for a real end to austerity for local councils.
Labour says Conservative cuts mean councils have lost 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010.
And it says pressures on councils are increasing – last year councils were forced to spend an extra £800 million on vital services to protect children, and with an ageing population and growing demand, adult social care faces a funding gap of £3.5 billion.
Labour claims that Lambeth council alone has lost more than £230 million in funding since 2010, but still faces cuts of more than £43 million over the next few years – more than the council spends on street cleaning, parks, libraries, community safety, bins and recycling combined.
Now the Breaking Point is calling on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to deliver a real end to austerity – by scrapping the planned £1.3bn cut to councils and providing a desperately-needed cash injection to stop children’s services and adult social care from collapsing.
It has been signed by every Labour councillor in Lambeth and is the most-signed petition of Labour councillors ever.
Cllr Lib Peck, who is also Deputy Leader of the Local Government Association, handed the petition in to 10 Downing Street last week ahead of this week’s budget announcement.
She said: “Tory austerity is driving councils to the point of total collapse.
In Lambeth, we’ve seen some of the highest cuts in the country, putting huge pressure on the vital services that our most vulnerable residents rely on.
“We’ve already seen Tory councils like Northamptonshire collapse because of the cuts – this just isn’t sustainable.
“We are delivering a powerful message to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that councils simply cannot take any more cuts.”
The Breaking Point campaign has the backing of Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Andrew Gwynne, who said: “This is a fantastic campaign that has my total support.
“Labour councillors have come together in unprecedented numbers to send a clear warning to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that councils simply cannot take any more cuts.
The next Labour government will sustainably fund our councils and put an end to this crisis.”
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