his week, The Labour Council have announced more cuts are on the way. No surprise there, apart from the fact that they gave the press even less information than they used to when there was a Lib Dem opposition.
They have followed the same tactics for the previous three years - they have exaggerated the cuts by including extra growth spending (called unavoidable cost pressure in the press release, although it doesn’t say how much this year), threatened cuts to frontline services, and then, after scaring residents, they “find” the money to save the services that they say were under threat in the first place.
Then they blame the Government, and it has worked - Manchester is now a one party state with nobody to hold them to account.
Labour’s press release mentions an estimated £59m of “funding shortfall” next year, but rules out a rise in Council Tax. A couple of years ago Richard Leese argued for a 4% rise saying it was unavoidable given the cuts. It doesn’t seem unavoidable now.
And then the press release mentions what could possibly be cut. It mentions about £80m of cuts, £20m over the “shortfall”. They throw in front line services - ending free swimming for under 16’s and over 60’s (saving just £70,000). Axing 40 school crossing patrols save little (a figure isn’t even mentioned) but is threatened to maximise outrage.
But the one thing the Press release doesn’t mention is that next year is General Election year.
If these cuts are so unfair to Manchester then why are Labour not promising to reverse them if they win the General Election in May? Can Manchester Labour not persuade Ed Miliband of the strength of their case?
Labour in Manchester know they are going to have to make cuts whoever wins the General Election, just as they knew and had identified millions of pounds of cuts before the 2010 election they thought Labour would win.
My view is clear. There is absolutely no need to harm frontline services, and I will be campaigning to stop Labour making the wrong choices for Manchester. Labour’s Town Hall bosses should use up some of Manchester’s huge reserves and cut out the unnecessary spending like Ipads and new swanky mobiles for Labour Councillors or a £3.5 million glass corridor between the Town Hall and Central Library that nobody wanted.