We expected better from this Secretary of State and wanted to see better from this Government. I thank our dedicated council staff and our local councillors of all political persuasions and none, because, frankly, over the past nine years they have all been hung out to dry by successive Secretaries of State.
This is an Alice “Through the Looking-Glass” settlement. Ministers present a cut as an increase, but back in the real world, what we saw in the provisional settlement, which was reaffirmed last week in the Secretary of State’s written ministerial statement to the House, is that there is no new money, no new ideas and no recognition of the dire situation facing councils. Between Christmas and last week the Secretary of State had the chance to change tack, but he has just confirmed to the House that the settlement is identical to the provisional settlement that failed so miserably before Christmas.
Local government is at the heart of our local communities. It looks after the most vulnerable in society and makes our local green spaces cleaner and safer, but under this Conservative Government we have seen unprecedented levels of cuts to our local councils. The fact is simple: between 2010 and 2020, local government in England will have lost more than 60p in every £1 that the Government provide to our communities for services.