Labour debate on Government spending
26/01/2015 22:05:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
Last night the Labour Council's debate motion was "This Council condemns the over £100million of local government cuts imposed on the people of Croydon by the current government."
You can watch my contribution to the debate online or read the transcript here:
"Normally when speaking in a Council debate I speak in support or in opposition to the motion. But for this one I have to admit I rise in confusion. Confusion because I’m not sure what Labour are trying to achieve.
On numerous occasions, Cllr Newman and his colleagues claimed it was the previous Conservative administration that left the £100m ‘black hole’. It's good that the wording of this motion admits they mislead Croydon residents during the election and that's not the case!
This motion seems to place all the blame at the door of the national government but even that’s not true.
Labour’s finance supremo in his December 2014 bulletin said: “When the new administration took over in June, we faced a budget gap over the next three years of some £93million.”
It includes Government grant reductions, but also includes “inflation, demographic pressures and increased responsibilitiest” – all conveniently missing from the debate motion. Perhaps that was just another instance of his loose wording?
Bizarrely the Labour Councillors seem to have forgotten their motion goes against their own national Labour policy.
Not two weeks ago the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats AND the Labour Party all voted in favour of the Budget Charter which commits the government to a goal of balancing day-to-day spending by 2017-18. A new government would have to make additional tax rises or spending cuts of around £30bn.
Ed Balls said this is “fully consistent” with Labour’s approach to public spending. I can imagine Cllr Newman and his colleagues were hoping that Prime Minister Miliband, in his suit of glistening armour atop a white steed, would come riding over Gipsy Hill to save them. How very naive. Even their MP for Lambeth South voted for it!
This motion makes a mockery of Labour’s illogical politics. They simply haven’t a clue.
If the Labour Councillors support this motion, they are voting directly against their own national party policy, against their only Croydon MP and against the more nuanced financial position outlined by their finance guru back in December.
If Labour support this confusing anti-austerity and frankly anti-Labour motion then there’s only one logical route left for them all to take: there is after all only one anti-austerity party Madam Mayor, if they support this motion I look forward to reading in the Croydon Advertiser and Croydon Guardian about their mass defection to the Green Party!"