Between 20/11 to 2016/17 the council has had to make savings of £171 million to balance its budget and manage a 12.4% reduction in our core government funding. Which equates to £753 per dwelling. We have done our best to manage these savage government cuts alongside increasing costs and pressures on services. Now we have run out of options.
The Tories have taken away support to keep the tax down. Now under the Osborne tax proposals, they want to force us to increase council tax by 3.75% or make further cuts.
Faced with this onslaught of government cuts why are some local critics attacking the Labour Party rather than the Tories?
We are told, by critics, that we can somehow set a "legal" no cuts budget and make no cuts. This is not the case. If that was possible why would we not adopt such a budget?
For these reasons:
- A "no cuts budget" based on irresponsible borrowing leads to the bankruptcy of the city.
- The truth is that no such "legal" budget is possible. We are told that we can exhaust the Council's reserves and borrow the rest to bridge the £22 million pound government cut. Under the law, any attempt to set such a budget requires Council officers to intervene and set a different budget from the elected councillors.
- It would lead to the appointment of government commissioners to impose worse cuts on the people of Salford. This would fall heaviest on the most vulnerable
- Every Council in the country who has considered this, has rejected the idea of a "no cuts" budget as a cruel con trick. We are not prepared to play games with people who need our services.
Salford Labour Councillors know they have no choice but to implement cuts. We try to do so as sensitively as possible in order to protect those Salford citizens most at risk from this Tory government's discrimination against the most vulnerable while it protects the powerful.
Now we hear the Tory government has announced a £300 million grant to help mainly Tory authorities while not giving a penny to Salford. Yet another insult to the people of this city.