Derek has today written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in support of the Leader of Halton Borough Council, Cllr Rob Polhill’s, call for a reversal of the planned cuts to Halton’s government funding, to urgently address the £5.8 billon gap in funding that council’s face by 2020 and to provide Halton and other councils with the necessary funding to address the national crisis in Children and Adult Social Care. You can read both letters below.
The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Correspondence & Enquiry Unit
1 Horse Guards Road
|Our Ref: DT13650||23 October 2018|
I attach a copy of the letter sent to you from the leader of Halton Borough Council, Cllr Rob Polhill.
I fully support his calls for central government to reverse the planned cuts to local government funding, to urgently address the £5.8 billion funding gap that faces councils by 2020 and to provide councils, including Halton with the necessary funding to address the national crisis in Children and Adult Social Care.
I am extremely concerned about the funding cuts that central government have imposed on Halton Borough Council. I have lived in this area all of my life and I see first- hand the terrible effect that government funding cuts are having on my constituency and on my constituents. During this period, many of my constituents have also had full service Universal Credit inflicted on them, which has seen many of them contacting me regarding problems with the system, a system which has left some destitute for long periods of time.
Halton has endured cuts of £64 million in its government funding since 2010, with more cuts currently forecast over the next few years.
I pay tribute to the hard working council staff in Halton who have done their utmost to continue to provide quality services, despite the devastating financial cuts inflicted on Halton since 2010.
Labour Councillors in Halton have done their very best to protect the weakest, most vulnerable people and vital public services from the financial cuts inflicted on Halton by government. However, I cannot see how this can continue given the forecasted budget gap that councils will face by 2020.
I ask that you urgently reverse the cuts planned for councils like Halton next week and ensure that they are provided with the resources that they need to deliver essential public services to our communities.
Derek Twigg MP
As a Labour council leader running a council that has already endured crippling financial cuts to our government funding since 2010, I am writing to you to ask you to stand by Theresa May’s promise that austerity is at an end.
Halton Borough Council has seen a cut in Government grant funding totalling £64m since 2010, which is essential funding for a Borough of very high needs such as ours. The Council’s Core Spending Power (the Government’s own measure of available financial resources) has been cut by 29% since 2010, whereas nationally the average reduction has been 21%.
Our residents deserve quality services, however, your government’s cuts to our area is making this increasingly impossible. We are increasingly worried about Adult and Children’s Social Care. During this period of Tory austerity, the rising demand due to increasing numbers of Looked after Children, has meant that Halton’s costs have increased from £9.2m to £18.6m just in this area. This is an increase of £9.4m or 102% and costs continue to rise despite all of the Council’s efforts to mitigate costs wherever possible and a similar position is reflected in councils all over the UK.
Halton employs hundreds of hard-working staff who are delivering vital public services to Halton residents. We rely on our workforce to keep our children safe, provide support to vulnerable elderly and disabled people, and to staff the services we all use – such as children’s centres, adult day centres, refuse collection, parks, leisure centres and libraries. Across the UK only 14% of council workers are now confident that vulnerable local residents are cared for.
It is vital that you take the opportunity of the Local Government Finance Settlement to ensure we are provided with sufficient resources to fund the essential public services we deliver for our community.
Therefore as a Labour Council leader I am calling on you to:
- Reverse the planned cuts to our government funding.
- Urgently address the £5.8bn gap in funding that councils face by 2020.
- Provide Councils with the necessary additional funding to address the national crisis in Looked After Children and Social Care. I cannot stress how serious the financial situation is in Halton and how worried I am about how we will continue to provide the services that our residents need. Once again I ask you to stand by the Prime Minister’s statement that ‘austerity is over’.
COUNCILLOR ROB POLHILL
LEADER – HALTON BOROUGH COUNCIL
cc: Mr Derek Twigg MP