‘No more cuts to local government funding’ – is the cry from local labour councillors who have added their names to a 5000 strong anti-austerity petition being handed in to 10 Downing Street today.
Labour politicians from across the country are seeking an end to the Conservative government’s decade of funding cuts which has seen millions pulled from town hall budgets.
The three Labour leaders of the groups on Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby councils have all added their weight to the Breaking Point campaign which is calling on the chancellor Philip Hammond to reverse the £1.3bn of cuts planned for local authorities this year.
They also want him to announce in today’s budget £2bn in both adult social care and children’s service to stop the services from collapsing and to pledge a spending review to restore council finding to 2010 levels within four years.
The prolonged funding cuts have been all too real for Northamptonshire councils and its residents.
The county authority is being run by commissioners after failing to balance its books this April and the abolition of all eight Northants councils looks likely in 2020 as a new unitary system is brought in.
Northamptonshire County Council is officially the poorest council in the country and it is having to save £65m from its annual spending by April and is also relying on government to relax the rules to pay off last years deficit.
Leader of Kettering Council Labour Group, Cllr Mick Scrimshaw, said: “The Breaking Point campaign has our total support. We’ve joined together with Labour councillors from across the country to send a sharp warning to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that austerity is driving councils to the point of total collapse.
“We are delivering a powerful message to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that councils simply cannot take any more cuts. If the Budget doesn’t reverse the further cuts planned to local government for next year then more councils will collapse into bankruptcy, causing devastating effects for children at risk, disabled adults, and vulnerable older people.”
Leader of the Labour group at Wellingborough Council Cllr Andrew Scarborough has put his name on the petition along with other councillors from the town.
He said: “Over the past few years the amount of government funding to local councils has been cut and cut and cut. To such an extent that councils are struggling to deliver the services that local people expect and should receive.
“The general consensus is that local authorities are reaching that point that they can’t go on any longer and in this county we have gone well past that stage.
“It is time to say ‘look, this has gone on for long enough’.”