Public services are under threat like never before due to unprecedented budget cuts.
In recent weeks I have had meetings with local headteachers, police officers and health workers and time and again I have heard of services being cut, staff being made redundant, and unrealistic demands from government for more to be done with much less.
Since 2010 when the Tories came to power:
Greater Manchester Police have had their budget slashed by £180 million;
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has lost £28 million;
Rochdale Council and other local authorities (with the exception of many rich Tory councils, unsurprisingly) have seen tens of millions of pounds taken away by government, leaving essential services like social care at breaking point.
Now, schools are facing drastic cuts to their funding due to a new funding formula which could have a devastating impact on the education of hundreds of children here in Heywood and Middleton, and the NHS is being told to find £22 billion more of ‘efficiency savings’ (what you and I would call ‘cuts’) by 2020.
This is a coordinated attack by the Conservatives on essential public services in the name of austerity, and if they claim the aim of the cuts is to reduce national debt and balance the economy then they’re not just wrong but incompetent too, because it isn’t working – the national debt is soaring as the Conservatives have borrowed more in the 7 years since 2010 than Labour did in the whole of the 13 years we were in power between 1997 and 2010.
Labour has always been on the side of our essential public services and we always will be.
We need a Labour government to give them the full backing and investment they deserve.