Hastings council leader calls for Boris Johnson to end cuts to local government

Boris Johnson presides over his first cabinet meeting as Prime Minister (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson presides over his first cabinet meeting as Prime Minister (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The leader of Hastings Borough Council has called on new Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end cuts to local government.

Peter Chowney has joined with more than 100 other Labour council leaders from across England and Wales to write to Mr Johnson demanding an end to ‘sticking plaster’ solutions.

They argue Tory cuts have meant councils have lost 60p out of every £1 of funding from central Government since 2010.

This comes at a time when pressures on councils are increasing in areas such as adult social care, with more children are being taken into care, community support services disappearing, a shortage of social rented housing and homelessness on the rise.

It describes how in each of the last few years the only response from Government has been to produce ‘sticking plasters’ in the form of small short-term pots of money ‘designed merely to paper over the cracks for another year’.

The letter continues: “In your campaign to become our new Prime Minister you claimed that you would bring our country together.

“There is no better way for you to prove that this was more than empty rhetoric than by truly ending austerity in local government. No more sticking plasters — we need a serious long-term reinvestment to ensure a sustainable future for councils.”

Immediate demands included £2bn for adult social care and £2bn for children’s services to ‘stop these vital emergency services from collapsing’, reversing the changes to the council funding formula and pledging to use the spending review to restore council funding to 2010 levels over the next four years.

Mr Chowney said: “This letter has my full support.

“Along with other Labour council leaders I am calling on the new Prime Minister to restore funding to sustainable levels in all types of council: districts, counties and unitary councils.

“We are delivering a powerful message to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that councils simply cannot take any more cuts.

“Further cuts to local government by central government will mean that there will be devastating effects for children at risk, disabled adults, and vulnerable older people, as well as on community services and core services such as waste collection and parks.

“There just isn’t enough money in local government to run these basic services into the future – this has to change.”