I have had a full mail bag from many constituents writing to me about threats to funding for local services. I don’t want to see us lose any services, be that buses, museums, libraries or the social services.
These cuts come from George Osborne’s decision to axe the central government grant to councils over the next four years amounts to a £6.1 billion cut by 2019/20, and Lancashire County Council's share of that cut is unfair and disproportionate. At a time when some southern councils have received increases in funding, northern councils have been hit hard.
Local government is already under enormous pressure. But this cut by Osborne will hit the poorest parts of the country hardest, where there are fewer businesses and taxpayers to make up for lost Whitehall grants. The demand for, and cost of, services is growing, but the funding the Council receives from the Government to deliver these has been reduced by 39% since 2010. Over the past few years the Council has already made cuts in backroom functions, and cut all possible red tape.
Cuts to adult social care will mean more older people will need hospital and emergency care, putting our health services under additional strain. Council leaders have warned that the policy is “short-sighted” and will create a false economy. The Tories have missed a major opportunity to protect community services, improve people’s quality of life and protect the most vulnerable.
I am continuing to talk with Lancashire County Council to seek to find solutions for these services and won’t be giving up. But I am clear that the Council has been pushed into an impossible situation by the government.