Ed Miliband this morning gave his long awaited speech on how Labour would tackle the UK’s deficit if Labour win power in May 2015. They have finally admitted that “Labour did not spend every pound of public money well”. The headline from this speech is a warning that all services – other than the NHS and overseas aid – will face real cuts every year under Labour until the deficit is cleared.
They have however identified £500 million in savings that could be made from local government.
Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, and Hilary Benn, shadow Communities and Local Government secretary, have now outlined Labour’s plans to save over £500m a year from 2016/17 through shared services, back-office collaboration, and streamlining, to better protect frontline services.
We have heard over the last few months criticism from Bury Labour about cuts to local government “forced” on them by the coalition Government. They say that it is the Government’s fault, yet they shy away from the fact that is they who are setting the budget locally and deciding where taxpayers money should be spent. We all know they have been cutting front line services.
In view of this announcement, where are Bury Labour’s plans for shared services, back-office collaboration and streamlining that Ed Miliband proposes? We have seen very little of it since Labour took control of Bury Council in 2011.
Bury Conservatives have been promoting a “shared services plan” in terms of back office savings, efficiencies by sharing some services with Rochdale and Rossendale Councils. Let us hope that Bury Labour now actually listen to residents for a change and take a look at back office savings rather than looking for scapegoats for the front line cuts.