Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, responding to the publication of the Localism Bill today, said:
“The Tories’ belief in localism is cynical and unfair. Their plans ring hollow when at the same time they are cutting local government by 27% on average over the next four years. It’s offering councils devolution while holding a gun to their head.
“Labour is in favour of giving people a greater say in the way their local communities and services are run. Some aspects of the Localism Bill build on reforms we made to local government in recent years.
“The reality is though the coalition's decision to hit lower and middle income neighbourhoods with the heaviest cuts in the next twelve months will inevitably impact on the vital frontline services families rely on, jobs and growth.
“The most deprived communities look set to lose out most from the government’s decisions on grants and council tax, while councils in the most prosperous areas are favoured.
“As a result, roads will go unrepaired, potholes unfixed, streets unswept. Youth clubs will close, libraries will shut down and fewer will find their council able to help with social care.
“And because Eric Pickles and the government have chosen to hit councils with frontloaded cuts in the first year, far from liberating community groups, the voluntary sector and charities to do more, as the government promises, they may be so hampered they end up doing less."