Ilkley Labour candidate says cuts will harm council services

Ilkley Gazette: John Grogan John Grogan

Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Ilkley has warned that proposed cuts to council funding to the Little Lane Children’s Centre and Manor House Museum are just the tip of the iceberg unless coalition government spending plans for the next five years are altered.

John Grogan said there was at least another £115 million in cuts to come over the next three years.

“It is a matter of fact that Bradford, like most northern cities, has faced much greater cuts in spending per head than more affluent councils in the south of England,” he said. “It will simply not be possible for Bradford Council to fund the same level of services with this loss of income.

“The Government’s own Office of Budget Responsibility has estimated that if these national spending plans are put into effect the level of spending on public services as a proportion of national income will fall to a level last seen in the 1940s. If this happens I am afraid that there is no way schools, leisure facilities, home help and social services, buses and libraries in Ilkley, Airedale and Wharfedale will be not be affected.”

Mr Grogan said that he had raised the suggestion, made by Ilkley’s MP Kris Hopkins, that the Government’s New Homes Bonus of £20 million to Bradford Council should be used to stop cuts to children’s centres in the district, including Ilkley, with leading Bradford councillors.

However, he said the money had already been included in Bradford Council’s budget calculations.

“The simple fact is that the specific Government grant to fund children’s centres has already been cut by a third.

“Ilkley children’s centre was opened in 2010 in the last phase of the Labour Government’s programme to open such facilities throughout the country, initially in areas of the greatest social need but eventually throughout the country.

“I will do whatever I can to argue the case for public services like the Little Lane Children’s Centre but the threat lies not ultimately from Bradford Council but from central government spending priorities which favour the south against the north and which envisage a permanent shrinking of the size of the state.”

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