It is an honour to participate in this debate and a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Rachael Maskell.
We were told last year by both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor that austerity is over. I beg to differ, because austerity is alive and well in Peterborough. Our revenue support grant is just £10 million this year, which means that it has been cut by more than 80%. Since 2010, this Government have cut £20 million of funding from my local council, which has meant a £431 loss per year for each household in the same period. That money has been taken straight from the pockets of my constituents. It could have funded 37 children’s centres and 1,162 domiciliary care workers.
In addition, it is estimated that there is a nationwide shortfall of £1 billion to bridge the funding gap in children and adult social care. As people work and live for longer, that gap will continue to increase. When will this Government wake up to the fact that these cuts to our local council and social care budgets have seriously harmed their ability to function? Our councils are so starved of funding that they can only just about fulfil their statutory obligations. The cuts are having a devastating impact on Peterborough City Council’s funding and the cash-strapped social care sector.
If the Government are truly serious about ending austerity, they will invest in our schools, councils and public services, and they will do it sooner rather than later. Warm words that austerity is over will not cut it. In order for my constituents to have continued access to the basic provisions that my council should be providing, this Government need to invest. We need deeds, not words.