“Government should come clean on cuts to local services” – Alex Cunningham MP

Alex Cunningham, the Labour MP for Stockton North today revealed details of cuts to be made to local services for children and young people in the Stockton Borough by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government.

In response to a letter from Labour’s shadow children and education secretary Ed Balls, the coalition government admitted that £311m will be cut this year from education and children’s services provided locally but funded by the government.

Alex has calculated that £1.72 million of the cuts will be imposed in the Borough – almost a third of the budget for these services for the rest of the year.

He said:

“It’s now clear that the Conservatives and Lib Dems believe that the first candidate for cuts should be services for children and young people in areas like ours.

“£20,000 from school transport, £92,000 from youth activities and local youth clubs, £40,000 from programmes to cut teenage pregnancy and £531,000 from funding to help improve standards in under-performing schools.

“But these are short-sighted cuts. It will save nothing in the long run if teenage pregnancy rises, young people who have fewer things to do after school get drawn into crime or anti-social behaviour, and more vulnerable young people are left without the intensive support that could turn their life around

“I know that Stockton Borough Council is one of the most efficient in the country and will work hard to protect all these services – but even the most efficient councils will soon see real effects in our communities – and local young people will suffer as a result.”

Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Children and Education, said;

“The Tories and Lib Dems said there would be no cuts to frontline services, but already that promise has been broken. And while they’re cutting funding for important services in areas like Stockton North, they’re planning to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a free market education experiment which saw school standards fall when it was tried elsewhere.

“The new government hopes they can pass the buck by cutting the budgets for local councils without specifying where these cuts will fall on support for schools, for vulnerable young people and children – letting councils take the rap.

“The public understands the need to reduce the deficit – but they want it done fairly, and openly and without risking economic recovery. What the Tories and Liberals are doing is none of those things.”