Yesterday, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran led the Estimates Day debate for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's spending on behalf of the Public Accounts Committee.
Layla highlighted the Conservatives’ legacy in the Vale of White Horse, speaking about the council’s lack of funding for basic services, and financial woes, at a time of rising social care demand. The lack of central government grants “isn’t enough to fund basic services”, she said, “they are having to eat into their reserves.”
She also spoke about the Tories’ mismanagement of the Vale’s finances locally, saying: “An outsourcing agreement that was meant to save the councils involved £50million has in fact saved none and is projected to cost the taxpayer money. We are in a dire situation in the Vale.”
In the debate, Layla said:
"Local government spending is a story of unsustainability and inequality. According to the Local Government Association, funding to local government and business rates has fallen by £4.1 billion since 2015.
"We need to end false economies in local government spending, focusing on the long term.
"Local government is vital – it’s the coalface – where real policy meets real people. I hope today’s debate will be a clarion call to central government; local government may not always be sexy, but it is significant."
Following the debate, Layla commented:
"As knife crime continues to rise, our elderly fail to get the care they need and our children struggle to get a proper education, it is clear that the Tories are ignoring the biggest issues this country is facing.
"Local government is crucial for our communities, it’s the glue that keeps them together. Rather than funding vital services properly, the Conservative Government is cutting them to the bone.
"Whether it is children’s services, adult social care, special educational needs provision or our youth clubs, the Tories are under-funding them to critical levels and passing the burden on to local government to fund through council tax.
"It is time the Conservatives stopped ignoring the crises they’ve caused and woke up to the realities of government. The Liberal Democrats would not only majorly re-invest in our communities, but also focus much more on prevention when it comes to local government spending. This cost shunting by central government to local authorities must come to an end."