In a debate on the Local Government finance settlement on 3rd February, Ellesmere Port & Neston MP Justin Madders attacked further Government cuts to the budget of Cheshire West and Chester Council
He pointed out that the council will lose £90 million of central Government grant over 10 years and accused Ministers of ‘moving the goalposts’ by making in-year cuts after local budgets have already been set. He claimed that the most recent autumn statement contained a total of 10 changes, which left the Council £8.4 million worse off, while a funding formula error means that the Council will receive £2.3 million less than previously indicated.
He also heaped derision on the Government’s devolution agenda, which he claims has not represented a genuine transfer of power to town halls, but has devolved “cuts, risk and blame.” He concluded by calling on the Local Government Minister to offer respect, true freedom and fair funding to the “great innovators” leading Councils.
Commenting, Justin said:
“This Conservative government claims to support local government, but in reality they’ve slashed Council budgets further than any other part of the public sector. This has led to huge cuts to social care budgets, which has had a knock on effect on the NHS, with thousands of hospitals beds full of older people who are medically fit but have no social care provision to be transferred to.
The most recent round of spending cuts are forcing the Council to make some incredibly difficult decisions – these kind of savings simply cannot be found from efficiencies or the back-office. Leaders are also being forced to choose between increasing Council Tax or failing to properly support children in care, the elderly and people with disabilities.
I am calling on the government to offer a fairer deal to Cheshire West and Chester – we need adequate funding for local services and true devolution of powers from government.”