London’s ‘raw deal’

By Mark Ferguson / @markfergusonuk

In a letter to the Evening Standard released today, London’s Labour leaders – including Ken Livingstone, MPs, council leaders, assembly members and trade union leaders – have attack the “raw deal” that London has received from the Local Government Finance Settlement, and criticise Boris Johnson’s failure to launch the ‘Stalingrad like defence’ he once promised. The full text of the letter is below:

Dear editor,

Following the Local Government Finance Settlement it’s clear London has suffered a raw deal, with its councils facing average cuts of 11.25%. The average for the rest of England is 9.93%.

So much for Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson’s claim to have mounted a ‘Stalingrad like defence’ of funding for London.

We must be clear – the size and the speed of these cuts are a choice the Conservative-led government is making. Councils in London are being forced into making the heaviest cuts in the next year because of the decisions taken by George Osborne and Eric Pickles, damaging frontline services and putting jobs and the recovery at risk.

Our first responsibility is to protect the communities we serve, pressing the government to abandon its course and minimising the pain of the government’s cuts for residents. However the scale of the cuts in funding for councils is so big that in many cases this will not be enough to protect many vital services.

There is little doubt that local government cuts of this size, imposed this quickly and frontloaded in the first year will hit many of the important frontline services families and communities rely on. Roads already damaged last winter could go unrepaired this year too. Potholes could go unfixed, pavements unswept. Streetlights will be turned off. Youth clubs will close. Libraries will shut down. As more people than ever need help with social care, fewer will find their local council able to help.

Whether from local government, Parliament, City Hall, the trade unions or local Labour parties, London Labour’s approach will be based on uniting everyone in London opposed to the way the government has handed these cuts to councils and focusing our campaign where it deserves to be focused – on the government.

We urge the government to carefully reconsider the serious impact of policies on the quality of life of millions of Londoners, rethink the settlement and give the capital a fair deal.

Yours sincerely,

Ken Livingstone (Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London)
Jules Pipe (Mayor of Hackney)
Linda Perks, UNISON Regional Secretary
Steve Hart, Regional Secretary London and Eastern UNITE
Paul Hayes, GMB London region secretary
Richard Ascough, GMB Southern regional secretary
Alan Tate, CWU London Regional Political Secretary
Harriet Harman MP
Tessa Jowell MP
Len Duvall AM (Leader of London Assembly Labour Group)
Claude Moraes MEP

Nicky Gavron AM
Val Shawcross AM
Murad Qureshi AM
John Biggs AM
Joanne McCartney AM
Navin Shah AM
Jennette Arnold AM

Diane Abbott MP
Heidi Alexander MP
Rushanara Ali MP
Karen Buck MP
Lyn Brown MP
John Cruddas MP
John Cryer MP
Jim Dowd MP
Clive Efford MP
Mike Gapes MP
Harriet Harman MP
Meg Hillier MP
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Margaret Hodge MP
Tessa Jowell MP
David Lammy MP
Siobhan McDonagh MP
Andy Love MP
Stephen Pound MP
Teresa Pearce MP
Nick Raynsford MP
Joan Ruddock MP
Virendra Sharma MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Stephen Timms MP
Gareth Thomas MP
Emily Thornberry MP
Malcolm Wicks MP

Cllr Liam Smith, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council
Cllr Ann John, Leader of Brent Council
Cllr Nasim Ali, Leader of Camden Council
Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council
Cllr Jagdish Sharma, Leader of Hounslow Council
Cllr Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council
Cllr Bill Stephenson, Leader of Harrow Council
Cllr Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council
Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council
Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham
Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council
Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council
Cllr Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council
Cllr Chris Roberts, Leader of Greenwich Council
Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham
Cllr Doug Taylor, Leader of Enfield Council

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