I share the concerns of constituents worried about the impact of severe cuts to local government funding and the devastating impact they are having on our services and jobs.
Council staff in our constituency, like those across our city have had to do much more with much less while keeping the public at the centre of everything they do.
Despite the very best efforts of local councils to protect public services, government cuts to local authority budgets have reached 49.1 per cent since 2010, leaving councils with no other option but to make cuts that inevitably have a negative impact on people’s lives.
Here in Liverpool, the council has to make further savage cuts of £90.3 million between 2017 and 2020 due the Tory government further slashing its funding. By 2020, the council will have faced cuts of £444 million since 2010.
When adjusted for inflation, that equates to a cut of 64 per cent of the council’s overall budget over the last decade, which is way above the national average. If Liverpool had experienced the average cut from 2010-2020 then the city would be £71.5 million better off. Instead, it is having to deliver services with 3,000 fewer staff.
This is a point I have consistently made in Parliament – it’s not just how much is available for local services across the country, it’s how unfairly the Tories are choosing to allocate it.
Across the country, youth centres, museums and libraries are having to close and our social care system is in crisis. Compared with 2010, there are now 455 fewer libraries, 1,240 fewer Sure Start centres and 600 fewer youth centres. House building has fallen to its lowest rate since the 1920s and homelessness is rising. Indeed, the number of people sleeping rough on our streets has more than doubled.
In Liverpool, the Labour-led council has protected more of the services vital to our most vulnerable communities. For instance, overall, an additional £6 million is being found for children’s services, which will fund the recruitment of more social workers to work with increasingly complex cases of young people coming in to care. In adult services it will to help meet the growing demographic pressures as more older people need support to live in safety and comfort at home.
The government must immediately increase funding to local authorities so that councils can deliver the vital public services that our communities want. Ministers should act on the warnings of the National Audit Office and initiate a review of local government funding to ensure that it is sustainable for the long term.
I will continue to stand up for local communities in Parliament, ensure that vital public services are protected and urge the government to bring forward a long-term and sustainable funding settlement for local government.