Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney MP Gerald Jones has attacked the UK Government on their record of cuts to the public sector. During a debate on this year’s Queens Speech, Mr Jones highlighted the pressure on local government following significant cuts by the Tories over the past few years.
Since David Cameron came to power in 2010 local government across Wales and the UK have seen a massive cut in funding leaving council services including Education, waste management and social services under severe pressure.
During the debate Mr Jones commented,
This Government has made choices, on one hand they have found money to reduce inheritance tax, reduce capital gains tax and reduce the rate of tax for the highest earners from 50p to 45p whilst on the other hand, they have made huge cuts to working families, welfare for disabled people and created significant hardship with huge cuts across the public sector.
…cuts have consequences and when our leisure facilities are under pressure, when our youth clubs are having their hours reduced, when our refuse and cleansing services are under pressure or when local services are facing closure local residents should be aware that this is a direct result of the cuts being brought about by David Cameron & George Osbourne.
Both Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly County Borough Councils have worked hard in recent years to protect front line services as best they could in the face of unprecedented financial cuts. Both councils pay the living wage to their employees… the proper living wage as suggested by the Living Wage Foundation that specifies an hourly rate of £8.25 an hour to take people above the poverty line, this is not the pretend national living wage that this Government introduced.”
The Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Brendan Toomey, applauded Mr Jones comments.
“I can’t think of any other organisation that would be expected to increase its output whilst having its budget slashed over 6 years. What’s particularly galling is that whilst the Tory Government is happy to cut huge sums from public services, they’re more than happy to give tax cuts to their friends in the highest earning pay brackets.
“We need to remember the government’s spending plans at the moment are a choice. And they’ve decided to hit the most needy and vulnerable whilst they give a tax cut to their friends. That’s their choice, and when people see their public services suffering they need to remember that the Tory government is responsible for underfunding them.”
The Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Keith Reynolds also applauded Mr Jones comments.
“We are facing unprecedented cuts on council services that are hitting families right across the Caerphilly Borough. I for one didn’t come into government to cut some of the most vital services for the most vulnerable in society, but as the UK government sets the budget we can only spend what we’re given.
“The responsibility of these cuts to lies firmly in Westminster with Tory politicians more interested in the size of the state than improving people’s lives. Every programme and service we provide has been effected by these cuts precisely because the UK government slashed our budget in six years. They should be held accountable.”