Speech given by Cllr. Claudia Webbe at Full Council on 27th June.
Mr Mayor, Wednesday’s Comprehensive spending review showed us that this coalition government just doesn’t get it. While Osborne and his lib dem counterparts were patting themselves on the back for a job well done, millions of public sector workers were left wondering if they will be 1 of 144,000 due to lose their jobs as announced in the chancellor’s plans.
But the coalition government’s contempt for public services doesn’t stop there. Not being satisfied with slashing local government department by 60% forcing councils like ours to make £120million worth of savings – they have now forced another 10% of cuts on us which is another £17million worth of cuts.
There are over 200,000 people in Islington that this council serves – that’s 200,000 people in our borough who the tory government are letting down. Current statistics show that of the 50 worst hit councils in the country, 42 are labour run authorities. This isn’t about the coalition striving for efficiency or bringing the deficit down Mr Mayor, this is their political game-playing at its worst.
The disregard to Local government and the public sector shown by this government speaks volumes – they fail to understand the vital role that local authorities perform and as a result are jeopardising the future of our youngest residents.
As a school governor I welcomed the news the Pupil Premium will be protected. But this was followed by the announcement that it will be distributed using a new national funding formula from, which is likely to have an adverse impact on London authorities. As usual it’s the Tories giving with one hand taking with the other.
The Chancellor failed to mention in his speech that the Education Services Grant for central education costs will be cut by £200m that’s over 20% in the next 3 years. This 20% cut equates to an estimated cut of £500k for Islington, £500k that we cannot afford.
Colleagues, even worse news was that the capital funding envelope includes provision for up to 180 new free schools, setting a worrying precedent for setting up schools outside of local authority regulation. Mr Mayor I ask - Why do we need these costly and unnecessary developments at the same time the government is taking half a million from our own schools? Osborne and Gove should concentrate their efforts in protecting the budgets for the hard working schools that already exist in our borough.
The CSR had scarcely any welcome news for the people of Islington. Chancellor Osborne and his coalition government have shown that their inability to reduce the deficit has once again hits inner city authorities like ours the hardest.