The new Prime Minister must put an end to ‘sticking plaster’ solutions and properly fund local councils – that’s the message that Peter Chowney, Hastings Council leader and Labour parliamentary candidate for Hastings & Rye has sent to Boris Johnston.
He has joined with more than 100 other Labour council leaders from across England and Wales to call on the new Prime Minister, to end cuts to local government.
“Tory cuts mean councils have lost 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010,” Mr Chowney told Hastings In Focus.
He says that pressures on councils are increasing: “Adult social care is crumbling, more children are being taken into care than ever before, local community support services have disappeared, there is a dire shortage of social rented housing, and homelessness has rocketed,” says Mr Chowney.
And he goes on to argue that: “…hard-working council staff who deliver our services have lost the equivalent of £1 out of every £5 they earned before, and are now the lowest paid in the public sector.”
Mr Chowney claims that Hastings Borough Council has lost over £50m in funding since 2010 and the letter he has signed calls on new Prime Minister Boris Johnston to immediately invest £2bn in children’s services and £2bn in adult social care. The council leaders also want to see Mr Johnston reverse the changes to the council funding formula that have forced the biggest cuts on the most deprived areas and pledge to use the forthcoming Spending Review to restore council funding to 2010 levels.
The letter urges that there should be ‘no more sticking plasters’. It reminds Mr Johnston: “In your campaign to become our new Prime Minister you claimed that you would bring our country together. There is no better way for you to prove that this was more than empty rhetoric than by truly ending austerity in local government. No more sticking plasters – we need a serious long term re-investment to ensure a sustainable future for councils.”
Mr Chowney says: “This letter has my full support. Along with other Labour Council Leaders I am calling on the new Prime Minister to restore funding to sustainable levels in all types of council: districts, counties and unitary councils.
“We are delivering a powerful message to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that councils simply cannot take any more cuts. Further cuts to local government by central government will mean that there will be devastating effects for children at risk, disabled adults, and vulnerable older people, as well as on community services and core services such as waste collection and parks.
“There just isn’t enough money in local government to run these basic services into the future – this has to change.