BUT COALITION GOVERNMENT PROTECTS FUNDING FOR VULNERABLE RESIDENTS
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CHANCER OF THE EXCHEQUER – ALISTAIR DARLING AND LABOUR WASTED BILLIONS OF POUNDS OF TAXPAYERS’ CASH AND THEN PLANNED TO CUT PUBLIC SPENDING BY 20-25% IF LABOUR HAD WON THE GENERAL ELECTION.
Cuts to public spending are the direct result of Labour’s wasteful years in Government. That was the message driven home by Cllr. John Bell at Tuesday’s State of the Area Debate.
The Tameside Conservative Leader slammed the Governments of Blair and Brown for leading Britain to the brink of bankruptcy, and leaving David Cameron’s Government with the largest deficit in peacetime history.
And he defended the cuts that are now being made to public spending by citing the economic crisis that is gripping Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, warning that Britain could be next.
Cllr. Bell, who has been warning the Council for over three years about over-spending, said, “Labour left us with a disastrous legacy. Who can forget Liam Byrne’s two-fingered farewell note to the Treasurey, in which he wrote, ‘there’s no money left… good luck!’?”
“Make no mistake, these cuts are Labour’s cuts. It’s their legacy to Tameside and to Britain.
“If we were to carry on down Labour’s path in five years time we would be spending £70 billion-a-year on the country’s debt interest alone – more than education, transport, and the environment.”
To jeers from Labour councillors, he retorted, “Until you come up with your own credible plan, instead of naval gazing about your leadership problems, you have no right to attack the Government’s actions.
“Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. You planned to raise VAT. Alistair Darling cut £23 billion of public spending, and you planned to cut public spending by 20-25 per cent if you’d won the election. But now you oppose every cut, and refuse point blank to set out your alternatives. You demand a plan B from us, but you don’t have a plan A.
“So, as with all Labour Governments, it is left to the Conservatives to pick up the pieces.”
Cllr. Bell went on to outline Conservative commitments to protect spending for vulnerable residents, including:
- More money for adult social care;
- More money for affordable and decent homes;
- More money for the supporting people programme;
- Retention of free and concessionary travel on public transport for pensioners; and,
- More flexibility for the Council to spend its money and the services that mattered.
Cllr. Bell said, “Tameside Council will have greater control over spending with the ending of ring-fencing in many areas.”
He also outlined the Government’s financial commitment to allow local authorities to freeze council tax. “We will be interested to see how you will handle this one at budget time,” he commented dryly.
Cllr. Bell concluded, “The emphasis for Tameside Council in future years must be creativity and innovation, fundamentally re-examining every aspect of the way we work, maximising efficiency and productivity with our partners, whilst bringing down the excessive pay of senior managers.”