The hon. Lady must equally reflect on the fact that the Labour Opposition voted against a real-terms increase in the core spending available to local authorities this year. That included the additional funding for health and for adult and children’s social care. We recognised the pressures and made the right judgments in respect of the pressures that councils explained to us. The Opposition may wax lyrical about funding pressures, but their own councils are not even helping themselves.
The Opposition have some front to claim to be the champions of local government and localism. I took the time to read the shadow Secretary of State’s recent speech to Labour’s local government conference this year, and it contained some big and bold claims. It is just a shame that they were not backed up by reality. He said that Labour was the party of devolution. I must congratulate him on his selective memory. If I remember correctly, it was his party that, after 13 years, left the UK one of the most centralised countries in Europe. It took the Conservatives in government to roll back the era of centrally imposed targets and the tick-box culture imposed by the Labour party, and it is this Government who have put the public finances back on track and cleared up the mess we inherited from Labour.