Council cuts - MP and Council Leader back 'Breaking Point' campaign
Date published: 26 October 2018
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams is backing a campaign called Breaking Point, which aims to expose the nationwide crisis in council finances following £16bn worth of cuts since 2010.
The campaign has been organised by the Local Government Association Labour Group.
Mrs Abrahams said: “Labour councillors from across the country have come together in unprecedented numbers to send a clear warning to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that austerity is driving councils to the point of total collapse.
“Our message to the Prime Minister and Chancellor is that councils simply cannot take any more cuts.
“The next Labour Government will sustainably fund our councils and put an end to this crisis.
"If the Budget doesn’t reverse the further cuts planned to local government for next year then there is no doubt that more councils, like Northamptonshire, will collapse into bankruptcy, causing devastating effects for children at risk, disabled adults, and vulnerable older people.
“Tory cuts to local government of over £16 billion since 2010 mean councils have lost 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010.”
The ‘Breaking Point’ petition - which has been handed in to 10 Downing Street ahead of the Budget on Monday (October 29) - is the most-signed petition of Labour councillors ever with over 5,000 Labour councillors calling on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to cancel the further planned £1.3bn cut to councils, and to provide an immediate cash injection to stop children's services and adult social care from collapsing.
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council (pictured below), said: “I’m proud to be one of over 5,000 Labour councillors to have signed the ‘Breaking Point’ petition.
“Here in Oldham we feel the impacts of Government cuts more than anywhere.
"In fact , there are only five local authorities across the whole country who have been forced to make more cuts than we have over the last eight years.
"When you consider the challenges we face in Oldham, this is absolutely shocking.
“Since 2010 we’ve had to make savings of £208 million from our budget and on the flipside some Conservative-run councils in the South East have seen an increase in theirs.
"It seems as though the areas with higher levels of people dependent on vital council services are the very places facing the biggest cuts.
“What we now have is a perfect storm: more people depending on public services than ever but significantly less money to support them.
“The Government’s solution is for councils to rely more on revenue they generate themselves through Council Tax and Business Rates but in Oldham we simply can’t pull in enough income through either to have any kind of impact.
“We need solutions to the severe pressures on adults’ and children’s services. Councils can’t just keep dipping into reserves or selling buildings and land to stay afloat.
“We truly are at breaking point and we desperately need the Government to give us a fairer deal.”
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of the LGA Labour Group said: “We’re delighted that Debbie is backing the ‘Breaking Point’ campaign.
“If the Prime Minister‘s claim that ‘austerity is over’ is to have any credibility, she simply must find the money we need to stop vital services from disintegrating.”
Councils now face a further funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025 just to keep services ‘standing still’ and meeting additional demand.
Lord Gary Porter, the Conservative Chair of the Local Government Association, has said: “Councils can no longer be expected to run our vital local services on a shoestring."
Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing email@example.com , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.