Local Government Funding

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 2:44 pm on 28th March 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Co-National Campaign Coordinator, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 2:44 pm, 28th March 2018

I beg to move,

That this House
believes that local government has severely suffered as a result of almost eight years of brutal and devastating cuts;
notes with concern that the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that between 2010 and 2020 local government will have had direct funding cut by 79 per cent;
is concerned that the top ten most deprived councils in England are set to see cuts higher than the national average, with nine on course for cuts more than three times higher than the national average;
believes there is a risk that services and councils are reaching a financial breaking point;
calls on the Government to act on the warnings of the National Audit Office and initiate a review into the funding of local government to ensure that the sector has sustainable funding for the long term and to immediately provide more resources to prevent more authorities following Conservative-run Northamptonshire into effective bankruptcy;
and further calls on the Government to report to the House by Oral Statement and written report before 19 April 2018 on what steps it is taking to comply with this resolution.

The motion calls on the Government to respond to the challenges faced by local government. I want to start by paying tribute to councillors of all political persuasions and none, and to council officers and staff, who have risen to those difficult challenges over the past eight years, making really tough decisions but ones that have often sought to protect public services. As I will come on to explain, all levels of local government are now saying that the cuts have to end or local government will collapse.

I am proud of my own roots in local government, having served on Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council for 12 years before coming to this House. My wife is a Tameside councillor approaching her 19th year of service. I know the very difficult decisions that she and her colleagues continue to have to make because of the decisions taken by Members of this House and this Government.

For those without the first-hand experience, the work of local government, as the Secretary of State recently put it, may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but to consider those working at the coalface in local councils as merely cogs in a machine to make the jobs of politicians in Westminster easier is a failure to recognise the real value, the responsibility and the pride shown by our local leaders.