Wycombe Labour's response to plea from Leader of Bucks County Council to local MPs
Response by Councillor Rafiq Raja, Leader of Labour Group on Wycombe District Council, to plea by Tory Leader of BCC to local MPs for help to fight the Government
"This is a bizarre situation - a leading Tory Councillor calling on his Tory MP colleagues to protest about the policies of the Tory Government which he, the leading Tory Councillor, supported and campaigned for just over six months ago during the general election.
Perhaps we could remind everyone what the Tories' 2015 Manifesto said.
It said the Government would eliminate the deficient by the end of 2017/18. In order to do that, the Government would reduce spending in real terms by 1% a year for two years - and, said the Manifesto, there wasn't a business that couldn't do that. That would require £30 billion of fiscal consolidation (i.e. cuts) over the two years of which £12 billion would be from welfare savings.
Then in 2018/19, the country would be in surplus. The Government would no longer cut in real terms but would grow in line with inflation.
No wonder Martin Tett looks like a man stabbed in the back by his own Government. They promised it would be easy - just a 1% cut for two years and then growth. And now we know what it really means - a 40% cut so far to the grant from Government to BCC and no grant at all from 2018/19 . And the Government is taking away the business rates from BCC when it promised devolved budgets.
Martin Tett is now seeing the chickens coming home to roost. He signed up to the promises in the Tory Manifesto. But they cannot be delivered and BCC is now desperate. Surely, as Leader of one of the largest county councils in the country, he knew these promises were empty and BCC would be in crisis? Surely he knew this when he was out campaigning in May? Or was he so gullible he was taken in by his Tory colleagues in the Government?
We wish Martin Tett well in his fight with his own Government and hope he will be joined by our local MP, Steve Baker, for the sake of the people of Bucks and Wycombe."