Sunday, 4 January 2015

Guardian letter: Labour`s poor reaction to local government cuts

I suppose I should have known better, but I fully expected Saturday`s edition to include news of an angry reaction from Labour leaders to the announcement by local government minister, Kris Hopkins, that the "latest round of multibillion-pound cuts" to local authorities` funding was a "fair financial settlement". (Council leaders say breaking point is near,19/12/14)  What can possibly be "fair" about a settlement which sees over 90% of the councils facing cuts in their spending of up to 6.4% being under Labour control, whilst the ones receiving increases are over 90% in Tory hands. The situation is worsened, of course, by the fact that one has to suspect, with this government`s record of duplicity, that the figures are more likely to be nearer the 8.8% average, as suggested by the the group representing local government heads, making a total of 40% cuts since the coalition took office.
     Admittedly, Hilary Benn did accuse the government of cutting funding for "socially deprived cities in the north" disproportionately, but that barely merits the term, "opposition". Why can`t the Labour leadership realise that it is, above all else, unfairness that annoys and antagonises the British people, and that these cuts are just another example of the government`s discrimination. There can`t even be many Tories who honestly believe that rich areas like Wokingham should be getting a better deal than impoverished urban areas further north, but still Labour`s reaction is muted. Such stifled reaction goes some way to explain why Labour`s lead in the polls, after almost five years of unjust and prejudiced government, is only by a slender margin, rather than the double digit one it should be. Why aren`t Miliband and co. at least as angry as they were over a misguided tweet recently, or perhaps even more so? For goodness sakes, this is about people`s quality of life deteriorating, about inequality increasing, and children`s futures being jeopardised; lets see some anger and passion!

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