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Issue #1725      April 6, 2016

Tories “destroying council services”

BRITAIN: Money for public toilets, waste disposal and other basic services has been slashed amid a “whirlwind of destruction” since the Tories took power, according to figures.

An analysis by the Press Association showed that local government funding for public services in England has fallen by as much as 40 percent since 2010. Budgets for public toilets, fire safety and pest control have fallen by almost half since 2010.

Health and safety has been cut in real terms by 25 percent, while road education safety and safe routes have been slashed by 32 percent.

Culture and arts have also faced massive reductions, with museums and libraries cut by 21 and 22 percent, and sports facilities cut by almost a quarter.

With homelessness mushrooming under the Tory assault on communities, the budget for homelessness prevention has increased by 72 percent since 2010.

However, private companies have been quick to cash in on homelessness, as spending on nightly paid, privately managed accommodation for homeless people has risen by a staggering 498 percent.

Unite union national officer Fiona Farmer said local government has become “the whipping boy for George Osborne’s misguided and flawed austerity agenda.”

She said cuts totalling £20 billion planned for the next five years “will see the poorest and most deprived areas hardest hit, while more prosperous and Tory-voting shires will escape relatively unscathed.”

Labour’s shadow communities and local government secretary Jon Trickett told the Morning Star that the scale of the “huge” cuts was a “disgraceful result of failing Tory policies” and warned that they would “fall heaviest on the most deprived areas.”

And GMB national officer Justin Bowden said the cuts revealed the extent to which “the decimation of local government started by the coalition government has continued apace under the Tories.”

He warned that it was “no longer a case of the death of local government by a thousand Tory cuts; at the current rate of destruction our publics services won’t last that long.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said that “councils were increasingly having to do more with less and to try to protect services, such as caring for the elderly, protecting children and reducing homelessness, in the face of growing demand.”

Morning Star

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