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 must make a little more progress. I will give way once more before I finish my speech.

It is little surprise that when we talk to Conservative Members in private they are just as concerned about what is going on in their own local communities as Labour Members are in public. It is not just the Opposition who are expressing concern about what is happening across local government; the IFS, the NAO and the media that cover local government are all saying the same things, as are members of the Conservative party.

Ensuring that vulnerable children have the protection that they need should not be a party political matter, which is why I am grateful for the work done by Tim Loughton to highlight the crisis in children’s services. Both Bob Blackman and the current Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Mr Hurd have campaigned against library closures. As I said earlier, the Defence Secretary has expressed concern about the cutting of bus services by Tory-controlled Staffordshire County Council—and he is right.

The Government can talk the talk on social mobility, supporting apprenticeships and investing in local communities, but at the moment—as was pointed out by my hon. Friend Emma Hardy—people who live in rural areas and want to find work or apprenticeships cannot travel because there are no local transport services for them to use. I agree with the Defence Secretary. I only hope that he will be in the Lobby with us today, supporting his Twitter petition. For many years we have argued for a change of direction while the Government have stuck their head in the sand.