Simon Hughes challenges Harriet Harman over Labour’s record in Sheffield

From a party news release:

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, Simon Hughes, joined Liberal Democrat councillors in Sheffield to highlight more than £4m of wasteful spending by Labour locally.

The figures were revealed while Labour Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, visited the city, attempting to defend Labour’s waste on Sheffield City Council.

Local Liberal Democrat councillors are campaigning to save Sheffield’s weekly bin collections, vital recycling services and local dementia homes, placed under threat of closure by Labour councillors.

Senior Sheffield Labour councillors have argued that no money is available, but there has been a staggering £4.2m of wasteful spending.

In the last 12 months Labour councillors have:

  • Approved £2.2m to refurbish Town Hall meeting rooms;
  • Agreed £400,000 to ‘communicate’ their plan to reduce bin collections;
  • Rejected a plan to save £1.2m by reducing the pay of senior officials;
  • Refused to reduce the £400,000 bill to fund full time Trade Union officials;
  • Scrapped Liberal Democrat plans which would have given the lowest paid council workers a permanent £250 pay rise both this year and next year.

In addition to this, Labour councillors turned down extra funds from the Government to help save Sheffield’s weekly bin collections.

Commenting, Simon Hughes said:

“Labour needs to understand that elections are about priorities: protecting essential services and helping the most vulnerable. Whatever the financial circumstances, councils like Sheffield and others across the country run by Labour are making things worse by investing in the wrong priorities – spending millions refurbishing town hall meeting rooms whilst cutting dementia care.

“Liberal Democrats across the country are standing on a record of making the right calls for their communities in difficult times while Labour is trying desperately to turn attention away from their own records because they can’t defend their terrible local record of slashing key services.

“No Liberal Democrat-controlled council in England is closing their libraries and some are opening new ones. Every Liberal Democrat council has frozen Council Tax and our councils have given the lowest paid workers a pay rise more frequently than Labour’s. This comes on top of record rises in the state pension and giving nearly 25m basic-rate tax payers an Income Tax cut last year, this year and next year.

This all rather reminds me of Labour’s spending choices in Hull too – wasting money that should be going on front line services.

* Mark Pack is a member of the Federal Board and editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire. He is a candidate for Party President.

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This entry was posted in Local government and News.
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