Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Hilary Benn MP, Labour's Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said on the Local Government Finance Settlement:

"David Cameron and Eric Pickles are living in a world of their own. They simply doesn’t understand the impact that their decisions on funding are having on services and the local people who use and rely upon them.

"This is what Eric Pickles' colleagues on the front line say about him. The former Tory chair of the LGA, Baroness Eaton, described his understanding of the effect of local government cuts as 'detached from the reality that councils are dealing with'. Her successor, Sir Merrick Cockell, has called the cuts 'unsustainable'. And the Tory Leader of Kent says his county 'can’t cope' with further reductions and 'is running on empty'.

"Let’s be clear what is being lost due to his unfair cuts: libraries, sports centres, Sure Start centres, places at women’s refuges.

"He is unfairly hitting the poorest areas hardest. The Audit Commission has found that "the most deprived areas have seen substantially greater reductions in government funding as a share of revenue expenditure than councils in less deprived areas".

"Why is the most deprived local authority, Liverpool, facing a cut of 7.7 per cent in its estimated revenue spending power over two years when David Cameron’s council of West Oxfordshire is getting an increase of 1.1 per cent?"

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