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That is very worrying, and I hope the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will stand up against it. Those of us who have been a Member of this House for some time will remember that the former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Lord Pickles, was only too keen to offer up the maximum cuts from his Department, meaning that local government in England was the part of the public sector that was clobbered the hardest.
It is even worse than the 32% fall over five years because, since the Conservative party entered government in 2010, funding for local councils has been slashed by more than half. We have all seen the consequences of that neglect: the unrepaired roads, the uncollected bins, the cuts to adult learning and the closed children’s centres. Under Conservative leadership, almost a fifth of our libraries have been forced to close because of cuts to funding. One of the previous Labour Government’s greatest achievements, the Sure Start programme, has had its funding slashed in half, forcing as many as 1,000 Sure Start children’s centres to close since 2010.