Tories hit London hard whilst protecting their own areas says Sadiq Khan MP
In the week councils across London set their budgets, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, has warned that unprecedented and unfair cuts in funding from the Tory Government will hit local services and the most deprived communities in London hardest, whilst wealthier areas are protected.
Government funding for councils has been cut by 40 per cent since 2010 with poorer areas hit hardest. The Government recently announced £300m funding for councils but a staggering 83 per cent of this funding will go to Conservative controlled authorities. Surrey and Hampshire will receive £43 million, whilst London gets only £28 million. Of the £28 million given to London, £16.8 million went to Tory controlled boroughs, compared to just £3.3 million to Labour controlled boroughs. The Tories are protecting their own areas whilst slashing funding for London. It shows Tory claims that “we are all in this together” to be hollow and cynical.
Most London Boroughs are having to raise council tax next year in order to offset some of the funding lost due to Government cuts. However, even if London Boroughs increased council tax by the maximum allowed, it will not come close to making up for the scale of cuts in Government funding. With councils bound by law to set balanced budgets, the scale of the cuts to councils mean most areas will have to both increase council tax and reduce spending. Government cuts mean Londoners will face both higher council tax and cuts to local services.
Tory cuts to councils risk serious consequences for London. Independent research shows planned cuts to council funding will lead to a £1.7bn black hole in social care funding by 2020 which will hit the most vulnerable and undermine our NHS. Other much-valued local services will inevitably be hit too; from libraries and leisure centres to street-sweeping and parks.
Even in tough times, Labour is making a difference for communities across London. Southwark is introducing free gyms and swims for all residents to encourage healthy living. Lewisham are tackling in-work poverty through a business rate discount for employers who commit to paying the Living Wage. Islington has committed to spending an additional £500k on additional targeted support and mentoring to help young people most at risk of turning to gangs and crime. Harrow has been awarded the ‘best small business friendly’ Borough in London for its work with local employers to create apprenticeships and training for residents.
Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London said;
“The Tories are hammering local services in London – and the capital is being hit worse than any other part of the country. And the poorest areas of London are suffering the most. I was a Councillor for twelve years - I know the crucial difference that local services can make to Londoners lives. Londoners need a Mayor who will stand up for the capital and work alongside local councillors to fight for a fairer deal for London.”
Steve Reed MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government said;
“While the Tories talk about ‘One Nation’, they are hitting the poorest hardest. At the same time they are blatantly misusing public funds by giving pre-election bungs to their own areas. As a former leader of a London Borough, I am deeply concerned by the scale of the Tory cuts inflicted on councils across our city. The Tories need to think again. If they don’t, Londoners will get the chance to give their verdict in May.”
Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government at UNISON said;
"The Government's funding cuts to local government are doing real damage to councils and communities in London and across the country. Tens of thousands of local government jobs have been lost across London, and if these cuts continue, many more will go."