The Government's approach to funding cuts is unfair and damaging - but Labour needs to offer more than just fair funding
Steve Reed, Shadow Minister for Civil Society, shares thoughts on the Government's approach to funding cuts ahead of the Autumn Statement.
The spending power of local authorities in England was cut substantially during this parliament. Local authorities’ spending per person was cut by 23.4% in real terms between 2009–10 and 2014–15, using a comparable definition of net spending on services over time by single-tier and county councils. Grants from central government (excluding those specifically for education, public health, police and fire services) were cut by 36.3% overall (and by 38.7% per person) in real terms during this period. However, the size of cuts varied markedly across the country, from 6.2% to 46.3%. On the whole, more deprived areas and those that saw faster population growth have seen larger cuts.
Further cuts in 2015–16 generally be focused on the same local authorities that have lost over the last five years. For example, London boroughs face cuts of 6.3% on average next year compared with 1.9% cuts faced by shire counties. Without a change in policy, any further cuts over the next parliament are also likely to affect the same places again.
Britain faces its biggest peace-time crisis since 1945. Brexit is creating profound challenges for business, for work, for our relations with our nearest neighbours but, perhaps more importantly, for what it means to be British. The divisions are the nearest an advanced industrialised country has ever approached Civil War. This is an existential moment in modern British history.
How do we make housing – where Labour has a public opinion lead over the Conservatives – count more in votes at Election time?
I am a founder member of the new Tribune Group of MPs because political debate in Britain – as well as in the Labour Party – needs fresh ideas and a clear left voice. The Labour programme we put to the public must be both radical, to give people the belief that things can change, and credible, to help give people the confidence that Labour can make the change.
The Tribune Group has a long and proud history as the voice of the centre left of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Labour Tribune MPs want to build on that heritage by initiating policy discussions and engaging with the wider Labour movement right across the UK. We will work with individuals and organisations that share our values and common goals, to develop ideas that will help inform and shape future debates around a wide range of policies.