It is, and I agree fully with my hon. Friend. Parts of my constituency are still trying to recover from the previous Tory Government's attack on those communities, despite the great work of the last Labour Government, and that progress needs to be maintained.
The area-based grant is finance used to help various services, such as those for deprived and vulnerable children. What is the alternative to cuts in services such as family intervention? If those services are cut locally, more children may be taken into care because there is no early intervention to fix problems quickly, which would cost the taxpayer significantly more. It costs approximately £24,000 a year to take a child into care. The cuts could well impact more harshly on less affluent areas of Stockport, such as Reddish. Liberal Democrat Stockport council does not do anything like enough for its most deprived communities, including the Reddish wards. I am concerned that they will be an easy target for the kind of cuts we now face. So there are a number of concerns for constituencies such as mine, because the Government's announcements will hit a host of services that affect local people. It is clear that the areas that will be most affected are poorer areas in the cities and metropolitan boroughs. Labour has a strong record of increasing funding for local authorities in those areas and using them to deliver national priorities by harnessing the best locally.
This Government clearly have a new view of localism, which does not take much account of local people. These cuts fail, as they break all promises not to balance the books on the backs of the poorest, and they show that the Government's claims of fairness are pretty empty and do not seem to look much beyond the world outside the comfortable home counties.
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