On Tuesday I spoke in Margaret Greenwood’s Westminster Hall debate on the funding of local authorities on Merseyside. Since 2010 local authority funding – which was just over £34 billion a year before the coalition government came to power – has been slashed to just £8 billion in 2020, a staggering reduction begun by the Lib Dem-Tory coalition and continued by the Tories. The demand for local authority services has rocketed because of our ageing society and the effects of the brutal cuts. This has left councils carrying the can for brutal cuts they didn’t want to make but have been forced to make.
In 2010 Liverpool received more than £560 million in local authority funding. By 2020 that had been slashed to £75 million, a reduction of around 86.6%. That’s money to deliver the most basic of council services: maintaining our roads, emptying our bins, providing social services and safeguarding services and supporting businesses. There is no longer funding available for any extras to improve people’s lives. The figures for money removed nationally from adult social care, £8 billion, highlights the human impact. There are now 400,000 older and disabled people on waiting lists for care, with over 100,000 staff vacancies.
As you can hear in my speech above, Knowsley is the second most deprived borough in the country. The average loss of £485 per person in Knowsley council funding since 2010 is over two and a half times the national average of £188, yet they are still expected to support residents who themselves face a cost of living crisis that is crippling many households.
All the way through the debate the Minister looked bored, made no eye contact with any Merseyside MP who was speaking, scrolled through his phone, kept looking at the clock and did not listen to anything we were saying. When it came to his reply, he refused to allow any interventions and read out a load of blathering fantastical nonsense which claimed Merseyside had been given more money not less. I have rarely seen such a disgraceful performance. Typical Tory.