The meeting of Leeds City Council on Wednesday of this week was much concerned with the impact of austerity on our city – a policy espoused by the LibDem/Tory Coalition, a policy still pursued by the current Tory government.
It’s a policy which has condemned 14,000 more people in our great city to a life of deprivation.
It’s a desperately unfair policy which has penalised cities like Leeds.
It’s a standing indictment of Theresa May’s claim to stand for a fairer Britain.
Leeds Labour councillors passed the following white paper from James Lewis, Deputy Leader of the Council, condemning these policies, and the government’s austerity agenda.
“This Council believes the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Governments made the wrong political choice to cut the council’s core grant funding by £214m since 2010 with £100m still to be taken away from the Council’s budget. Council is pleased to note the Chancellor of the Exchequer who presided over the last six years of austerity is no longer in post.
Council notes that the Government’s decision to impose such a sustained and counterproductive period of austerity had an unfair and damaging impact on the city and the effects have been felt hardest by our most deprived and vulnerable residents in Leeds, with 14,000 more people in the city now living in deprivation compared to 2010.
Council further notes that had Leeds received the same level of government funding per person as Wokingham in Berkshire, the council with the lowest levels of cuts, we would have an additional £100 million per annum in our budget.
Council calls on the new Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure the council receives a much needed increase in core grant funding through a fair funding allocation to take account of deprivation and need. This should include the direct reallocation of funding repatriated from the European Union to local councils to tackle poverty and deprivation and support economic growth.
Council further calls for HM Treasury to agree to allow councils to delay making a decision on whether or not to accept a four year funding settlement until after the Autumn Statement has been delivered.”
Local government has been hammered by LibDem/Tory and now Tory central government since 2010.
Labour local government is our last defence against those policies.