UK Politics

Labour Party: Pickles’ weakness is bad news for communities facing worst cuts to council budgets in a generation – Flint

News   •   Feb 09, 2011 11:04 GMT

Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, commenting on a leaked email from the Liberal Democrat group of the Local Government Association which says that Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles is considered ‘weak’, said:

“Pickles' weakness is bad news for communities facing the worst cuts to council budgets in a generation.”

Labour has revealed a leaked email from the Liberal Democrat Group of the LGA which shows both the Tory and Lib Dems leadership in local government are concerned at the ‘weakness’ of Eric Pickles.

The email also reveals unhappiness with the Tory-led Government’s Localism Bill.

The email says ‘concerns about the weakness’ of Pickles have been raised within both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups at the LGA and that the message had been heard ‘loud and clear’ by leading figures in the Government.

The Tory-led Government’s flagship Localism Bill comes in for criticism and is described as ‘not written in the spirit of localism’ with ‘too many powers for the Secretary of State’.

In a letter attached to the email, Local Government Minister Andrew Stunnell admits councils will find the Government’s Local Government Finance Settlement ‘very disappointing’. He warns local authorities ‘should be bracing themselves for significant cuts’ and admits that in some cases the figures showing the amount councils have in reserve quoted by DCLG have in some cases been ‘inaccurate’.

Caroline Flint MP said:

“Eric Pickles’ weakness is bad news for communities and families facing the worst cuts to council budgets in a generation. They are the ones paying the price for the Tory led Government’s decision to hit councils with cuts that are too fast, too deep and which are frontloaded in the first year rather than spread out over four years.

“The consequence for communities will be cuts to local jobs, growth and vital frontline services like children’s centres, libraries, social care and rubbish collection.

“Liberal Democrat Councillors may have no confidence in Eric Pickles or his Localism Bill and their MPs may be powerless and pointless passengers in a Tory led Government, but they are still complicit in the decision to hit councils with these reckless frontloaded cuts.”