Thursday, 27 June 2013

Manchester Green Party: Response to Comprehensive Spending Review 2015/16

Picture by George Hodan
Yesterday the poorly performing Coalition government announced its Spending Review for 2015/16. The centre piece of the review was a further £11.5 billion of spending cuts, including £2.6bn from the Communities Department.

It is expected that this will translate to an average 10% cut to local council budgets.

Manchester and Manchester City Council has fared badly from previous rounds.  Under the current government, during 2011/13 the Council had been forced to make cuts of £170 million. The last Spending Review, taking effect during 2014/15 an additional £80 million is removed from local budgets.

In practice, in Manchester, this has directly led to almost 3000 jobs lost from the Council, closure of Youth Services, SureStart Centres, Day Care Centres, libraries, swimming pools, public toilets as well as cuts to Childrens’ Services, Adult Services, Neighbourhood Services, grants for voluntary organisations and funds which support disabled people to remain independent in their communities. And this is not a complete list.

What will an additional 10% cut mean to Manchester?

For the people of this city, up until recently, the hope was to hold out for a change of government, to hope that an incoming Labour government would put a stop to the austerity that is strangling our local communities. But Labour has accepted the Coalition’s argument and has committed itself to keeping to the current government’s public spending plans. It leaves The Green Party as one of the few national parties making an argument against austerity.

For the past few years Manchester City Council has reacted to the budget reductions by 

There is an argument to be had in Manchester on the Council’s spending priorities.

Manchester Green Party Chair, Deyika Nzeribe reacted to the Spending Review saying “Further cuts to the Council budgets will be disastrous given what has already been lost. But after 2 rounds of significant cuts, the reaction of the Labour Council is poor. Funding the Australian Swimming Team while cutting Manchester libraries and swimming pools is one of several bad decisions that we can’t afford.

And instead of just concentrating on how best to reduce its services, why isn’t the Council using its fundraising expertise to support and expand what is left of the voluntary sector in the city so it can take over where the Council can no longer manage? It clearly can do it for buildings, why not services for people that need it?”

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