Central Government cuts to Local Authorities are “damaging” and “vicious,” leaving Councils across the country “without the resources to protect their communities.”
Speaking at an adjournment debate at Westminster on Central Government cuts to local Council’s budgets and its effects on vulnerable adult transport provision, MP for Salford and Eccles and Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Rebecca Long Bailey said:
“With the local government grant being cut by 56% by the end of this Parliament it is frankly terrifying for Members, like myself, whose local councils will see even more significant reductions in their spending power.
“By 2016/17 Salford City council will have had to make budget cuts of 188 million pounds in order to balance its budget. This is not just an issue for Salford City Council, every council has faced a vast reduction in funding from central government and my local council is not alone in having to cut transport for those with Special Educational Needs.
“Countless numbers of local authorities have all either reduced or completely ceased to provide transport for vulnerable adults.
“Adults with Special Educational Needs often attend day centres or schools and until recently many councils have provided private accessible transport for the most vulnerable to access these facilities. This support is a vital service in many communities.
“Salford City Council had to face the difficult decision to cut the in-house provision of vulnerable adult transport for over 200 families across the City of Salford, amounting to a £500,000 cut in transport support for those with Special Needs.
“Even in this desperate funding crisis the Council worked hard to make the best of a terrible financial situation. In partnership with those individuals affected and their carers, appropriate alternative arrangements were made. Transport was not ended for anyone until suitable alternative arrangements had been agreed.
“The fact remains however that they do not hold sufficient funding to provide an in house passenger transport service as it was.
“I have spoken at length to some of those families affected, I have heard their tales of despair, the worry about which other services they rely upon may be cut next. I have listened to the Mayor, councillors and council officers who have lost faith in our Government’s commitment to provide a welfare system that should be there to look after the vulnerable.
“There is nothing left to cut but vital frontline services. Even the Prime Minister’s own council leader had to explain this principle to him when he wrote the now infamous letter criticising his local Council’s cuts to frontline services.