In a remarkable mutiny against their own party, Tory council chiefs in England have warned the “worst is yet to come” in brutal local authority spending cuts.
The predominately Conservative County Council Network (CCN) said there will be “truly unpalatable cutbacks” in 2019, as councils try to make nearly £1bn of cuts.
The network, made up of 36 large councils in England, called for government funding to be made available in order to continue services such as adult social care, children’s social services and rural bus routes.
The government insists that funding for councils is increasing in real terms next year, however CCN flatly contradicted the statement and pointed to 60 per cent reduction by 2020.
CCN chair Paul Carter and Kent County Council leader said, “Counties will work hard to deliver the savings required, but the scope for making deliverable savings has dramatically reduced, and decisions for next year will be truly unpalatable if we are to fulfil our statutory duties.
“Without additional resource, the worst is yet to come.”
Unite national officer Jim Kennedy said the Conservatives are effectively waging war against local government.
“This plea is coming from predominantly Tory-led councils, which shows you how far out of touch the central government is with the disaster they are inflicting on vital local services throughout the country. It’s clear that Theresa May’s government does not represent the interests of local communities, even those that vote Conservative,” Kennedy said.
“The prime minister’s party has been overrun by right-wing ideologues whose only loyalty is to ultra free markets and the super rich they enable. Local government is an anathema to this because it goes against the creed of reducing the state’s involvement in public life to as few areas as possible.”
Kennedy added, “Instead of the savage and unnecessary cutting of local amenities and the barrage of privatisation the Tories are inflicting, we need a Labour government that will adequately fund local councils and stop the profiteers leeching off services that exist solely for the public good.”