The Conservative government has abandoned Bristol residents to savage council funding cuts, says MP Karin Smyth, in a week when her challenges have been brushed aside by ‘complacent’ Ministers.
The Labour MP challenged the government over the £64 million funding cuts announced by Bristol City Council, first at Local Government Questions in the House of Commons Chamber, and in a Written Parliamentary Question.
Watch the Commons exchange below
She asked Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what he would want to say to her constituents who are concerned about the cuts’ impact, and for his assessment of the effect on local services of the government cuts to Bristol City Council.
Referring to both the Commons chamber exchange, and the Minister’s written answer, Karin Smyth said: “The Tories’ responses are extraordinary, rehashing lies from seven years ago and completely failing to provide a response to the challenges that will become very evident to Bristol residents in the weeks ahead.
“In claiming they are providing the city council with ‘the funding they need’, Ministers’ complacency on these looming funding cuts is clear. It highlights how the Tories couldn’t care less about Bristol’s residents because they’ve abandoned them.
“The values south Bristol people hold dear, and that I share, tell me the priorities of the Tory government – cutting spending on services we all rely on – are not the priorities of the people I represent.
“Like them, I want to prioritise support for children, older people, and those who are most vulnerable, as well as protecting people living in the most deprived communities who often rely on vital services that now face the Tory axe.
“I also share concerns that some of the things people in south Bristol rely on, like buses and school lollipop patrols, could be threatened.
“Bristol is a net contributor to the UK economy, yet again is being short-changed by the Tories.”
1. Oral Question
Extract from Hansard, Monday 16 January
Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab): A 2015 Public Accounts Committee report outlined a 37% reduction in central Government support for local authorities between 2010 and 2016. What does the Secretary of State have to say to my Bristol South constituents, who are concerned about how the £64-million cuts announced by Bristol City Council last week will affect them?
Sajid Javid: I say to the hon. Lady’s Bristol South constituents, “Don’t forget where a Labour Government gets you.” The deepest deficit of any developed country, the biggest recession in almost 100 years and the largest banking bail-out—all that has meant that this Government have had to make some difficult decisions, and every part of local government has had to contribute to that.
2. Written Question
Hansard, Tuesday 17 January
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the effect of recent changes to government funding to Bristol City Council on local council services in Bristol South constituency. (59512)
Mr Marcus Jones (Local Government Minister):
On 15 December we announced the second year of a four year settlement, which will provide Bristol City Council with over £1.3 billion to spend on local services between 2016-17 and 2019-20. As a democratically elected organisation, Bristol City Council is independent of central government and is responsible for managing its budget in line with local priorities. We are giving the council the funding it needs to plan responsibly.
Watch the Commons exchange below