‘Breaking Point’ campaign exposes the crisis in council finances after £16bn in cuts since 2010 – and warns that more councils may follow Northamptonshire into bankruptcy.

Labour Councillors in Northamptonshire probably understand better than anyone the damage cuts to council funding have had. It is these cuts along with local financial mismanagement by the Conservative County Council that has bankrupt our county and plunged the future of local services into chaos.

The Labour Councillors on Kettering Borough Council have therefore joined with Labour councillors from across the UK to call for a real end to austerity for local councils with Labour Group Leader Cllr. Mick Scrimshaw attending the national launch of this new campaign in London.

Nationally, Conservative cuts mean councils have lost 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010.Pressures on councils are increasing – last year councils were forced to spend an extra £800 million on vital services to protect children, and with an ageing population and growing demand adult social care faces a funding gap of £3.5 billion.

In Northamptonshire rising demand for social care from a growing elderly population coupled with reduced funding has led the government sending in commishioners to try and deal with a £35.3m deficit from 2017/18, a forcast £20.1m overspend in this year;’s budget and a further budget gap of £59.9m for next year (figures taken froim NCC’s cabinet Agenda 9th October 2018).  And it is simply not true that Northamptonshire is the only council in difficulty Somerset, Norfolk and Lancashire county councils have all announced they are close to being unable to balance their busgets and councils up and down the country are reporting similar problems with the cross-party Local Government Acssociation saying “local government leaders warn the financial viability of some councils is now under threat and many others are increasingly unable to provide dignified care for our elderly and disabled, protect children, boost economic growth, fill potholes, build homes and much more.”

The ‘Breaking Point’ petition is the most-signed petition of Labour councillors ever – with over 5,000 Labour councillors calling on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to use the Budget to cancel a 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. It has been signed by Labour councillors in Kettering and has now been handed in to 10 Downing Street ahead of today’s Budget on 29thOctober.

Leader of Kettering Borough council Labour Group, Cllr Mick Scrimshaw, said:

“The Breaking Point campaign has our total support. We’ve joined together with Labour councillors from across the country to send a sharp warning to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that austerity is driving councils to the point of total collapse.

“We are delivering a powerful message to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that councils simply cannot take any more cuts. If the Budget doesn’t reverse the further cuts planned to local government for next year then more councils will collapse into bankruptcy, causing devastating effects for children at risk, disabled adults, and vulnerable older people.”

The Breaking Point campaign has the backing of Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary ANDREW GWYNNE MP, who said:

“This is a fantastic campaign that has my total support. Labour councillors have come together in unprecedented numbers to send a clear warning to the Prime Minister and Chancellor that councils simply cannot take any more cuts. The next Labour Government will sustainably fund our councils and put an end to this crisis.”

 

Editor’s Notes:

  1. The LGA Labour Group exists to provide a strong voice for Labour in local government. We represent and support Labour Groups in England and Wales and the Labour councillors within them. It is led by Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of the LGA Labour Group and leader of Newcastle City Council http://www.local.gov.uk/labour
  2. This is the most-signed petition of Labour councillors ever – with 5,137 signaturescollected in less than two weeks (as of 9am Weds 17thOctober), equivalent to 85% of all current Labour councillors in England and Wales. It was organised by the Local Government Association (LGA) Labour Group, led by Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle Council.
  3. ‘Breaking Point’ petition wording:

‘Councils are at Breaking Point. Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond must:

  • Use the Budget to reverse next years planned £1.3bn cut to council budgets;
  • Invest £2bn in children’s services and £2bn in adult social care to stop these vital emergency services from collapsing;
  • Pledge to use the Spending Review to restore council funding to 2010 levels over the next four years;’
  1. Visit the campaign website http://councilsatbreakingpoint.com
  2. The cross-party Local Government Association has warned that local councils face a new round of spending cuts of £1.3bn next year, with grants slashed by 36% in 2019/20 and 168 councils receiving no central funds from government at all. The LGA has also warned that councils now face a further funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025 just to keep services ‘standing still.
  3. After almost a decade of Tory cuts to local government many councils are now facing a crisis in funding – Northamptonshire has already gone bust, and many others are now facing bankruptcy.
  • Tory cuts mean councils have lost 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010
  • Councils were forced to spend an extra £800m on vital services to protect children last year due to increased demand, despite overall council funding falling
  • With an aging population and growing demand adult social care faces a gap of £3.5 billion – with only 14% of council workers now confident that vulnerable local residents are safe and cared for
  • Government cuts have seen over 500 children’s centres and 475 libraries close, potholes are left unfilled, and 80% of councils workers now say have no confidencein the future of local services
  • Northamptonshire has already gone bustdue to Tory incompetence at both national and local level, and more councils are predicted to collapsewithout immediate emergency funding
  • Councils now face a further funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025 just to keep services ‘standing still’ and meeting additional demand. Even 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’