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Good, well-funded public services are the lifeblood of a decent society. They are absolutely vital in allowing people and communities to develop their potential. At the beginning of today’s debate, we heard the Home Secretary talk about the importance of good local services to prevent vulnerable young people from becoming engaged in crime, yet this Queen’s Speech does not contain any firm commitment to reversing the savage cuts to local services that have been perpetuated on local councils since 2010.
Liverpool City Council has lost 63% of its Government funding for local services. This is particularly traumatic in a poor place such as Liverpool, where a 1% increase in council tax will raise only £1.75 million; in leafy Surrey, a 1% increase in council tax will raise £7.28 million. The more that the Government reduce this commitment to poorer areas, the greater the problem of poverty will be.
Mayor Joe Anderson, together with Liverpool City Council, has performed miracles, both in protecting the people of Liverpool from the most savage consequences of the cuts and in regenerating the city of Liverpool. It is through that regeneration that we have seen jobs and businesses prosper, and the Government have cut back on local services. This year, the city council and the people of Liverpool are facing a major crisis. There are more cuts staring them in the face and nothing in the Queen’s Speech or in the recent financial statement for next year that gives any confidence whatsoever that there will be any reduction in those cuts or their consequences for the people of Liverpool. I call on the Government to engage with Liverpool City Council and the people of Liverpool to find a way to deal with this very critical situation.