Local Government Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:54 pm on 7th February 2018.

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Photo of Yasmin Qureshi Yasmin Qureshi Shadow Minister (Justice) 6:54 pm, 7th February 2018

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I was going to make this point later, but I will make it now. I am not being party political, but I find it appalling and galling that the Tory councillors of Bolton complain that the council is not doing some of the things it needs to do—Chris Green, a Conservative, recently complained to the local newspaper that the council has not filled the potholes. Well, the council cannot do those things because its grant has been cut by 54% since 2010. The council has to spend the money it has on vital services such as looking after our elderly and our children.

There is no money left for potholes or for environmental services. In some parts of my constituency young people cause a lot of social nuisance and a lot of problems, such as breaking car windows and breaking people’s doors and windows. The local authority is being blamed for all of that, and people are saying, “You are not doing anything.” The political parties, especially the Conservative opposition, try to put it on the council. But, again, the council does not have the resources. It is doing everything it can. Where it can find some money, it is spending on the local area to try to improve the roads, get street lighting and help look after those communities affected by crime. The council is spending its money, but it does not have enough to give. When the hon. Member for Bolton West complains about things, I always say that he should be going to his own Government and Ministers. He should be asking them for that money. We have had a 54% cut in our budget over the past eight years and they are the people responsible for the situation we are in. He should be going to them asking for that extra money—the same thing applies in respect of policing cuts. Since this Government came to power 30,000 police have been cut—