Tag Archives: council

More than 40 Tory MPs demand extra funding for the councils they’ve been starving

Rubbish: will domestic refuse collections be cut back – again – if Rishi Sunak and his government refuse a plea from more than 40 Tory MPs for the restoration of funding to local councils?

Tory MPs who gleefully nodded through cuts totalling three-eighths of local council funding are now demanding extra cash so the same councils can fend off bankruptcy. Is it because this is an election year and they are afraid they’ll lose their Parliamentary seats?

More than 40 of them have joined dozens of others in demanding extra funding to avoid big cuts in council services.

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Here’s the BBC:

The group of 46 MPs, which is made up of 44 Conservatives as well as Labour’s Daniel Zeichner and Liberal Democrat Sarah Dyke, includes former ministers Priti Patel, Robert Jenrick, Greg Clark and Damian Green.

The letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove was co-ordinated by the County Councils Network and the County All-Party Parliamentary Group.

It urged the government to provide extra funding for local authorities ahead of a vote in the Commons next month “to ensure that the councils in our areas can continue to provide the services that our residents depend upon”.

There has been growing concern across the local government sector about council funding, with particular pressure on the cost of providing care for vulnerable adults and children, as well as housing services.

The government said it had announced a £64bn funding package for councils.

In December, the government announced the amount of funding it plans to make available to councils from April, and said it represented an average increase of 6.5% compared to the year before.

It is interesting that the Tory government said it was providing £64 billion in funding, when apparently the amount of cash it made available for councils fell from £41bn to just £26bn between 2010 and 2020.

Perhaps some of the extra cash is so-called ‘Levelling-Up’ money?

If so, Labour’s Luton North MP Sarah Owen has something to say about the way that money has been allocated:

Most of the response to the Tories’ call for cash has been ridicule – and for obvious reasons. They knew they were taking money away from local councils when they voted for austerity cuts to their funding, so they knew that services would be cut.

These responses therefore seem entirely appropriate:

Rishi Sunak is facing the possibility of another rebellion when Parliament is asked to approve a new funding deal for local councils in the near future.

It seems that these Tories have presented their government with a lose-lose situation: either set themselves up to lose the funding vote in Parliament, or set themselves up to lose the election when the amount of funding approved by Parliament turns out not to be enough.

Perhaps this is a good moment to remind you that the people of the UK can have all the public services they want. The only thing missing is the political will to provide it.

The UK is the fifth-richest economy in the world, meaning there is plenty of money available. Most of it is held by a small number of extremely rich millionaires and billionaires, many of whom would not object to paying a little more tax if it frees up money for public services.

But the Tory government – including some of the MPs now demanding more funding – is determined to cut taxes for the richest people, rather than increasing them.

This is a problem that the Tories created for us, with a plan to blame councils in the face of any backlash. Now it is backfiring onto them. Serves them right.


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Bill is passed to stop us boycotting Israeli products – even after the genocide

A lamppost sticker promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions. Note that it demands “justice for Palestine” and makes no anti-Semitic statements.

Considering everything that has happened since October 7, did nobody in the UK’s Tory government stop to think that, perhaps, this piece of legislation is now in bad taste?

It has been hard to collect information on this Bill because nobody in the media seems to have covered it. I wonder why.

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Fortunately the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians has a bit of context:

Yes indeed.

The Bill – which still has to pass through the House of Lords – now explicitly demands that local authorities may not boycott products from a country that currently stands accused of genocide and may soon be a convicted, genocidal, rogue state.

That can’t be right.

This Site has discussed the situation previously, and some of what I wrote then bears repeating:

The innocently-titled Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill … specifically forbids public bodies like local councils from taking into account human rights abuses committed by foreign governments when making decisions, including on procurement of goods and services.

You see how harmful this legislation is, in the light of Israel’s activities since October 7, 2023?

The Bill specifically forbids such public bodies from ever refusing to take goods and services from Israel, the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories and/or the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, no matter what atrocities are committed there.

Some have suggested a simple way around the issue:

Personally, I think this would lay any councils following such advice open to accusations of boycott by the back door – for example, if they could not explain why they would not take Israeli goods that appear to be the most economical option.

Perhaps a better way forward would be simply to rename the legislation.

Why not call it the UK (Unconditional Support for Genocide) Bill?


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Braverman’s legacy: tents of homeless people are destroyed by council(?) and police

Braverman’s last wish: tents belonging to homeless people are loaded onto a rubbish compactor lorry.

There’s a couplet in Moby Dick that runs like this:

From Hell’s heart I stab at thee,
For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

One of Suella Braverman’s last breaths as Home Secretary, if one can put it like that, was to suggest that being homeless is a “lifestyle choice” and call for rough sleepers to have their tents taken away from them – just as the autumn and winter chill started to set in.

Then last Friday (November 10), this happened:

Even now the facts are unclear.

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But a BBC report provides this information on what it said was a Metropolitan Police operation:

Refuse workers threw the tents into the back of their lorry on Huntley Street, Camden, at about 15:00 GMT on Friday.

The Met said it “worked with University College London Hospital and other partners in response to concerns”.

It is understood that the NHS hospital trust, which has a building entrance on the road, requested the dispersal of rough sleepers but not the destruction of tents.

Refuse company Veolia was contacted for comment.

A University College London Hospital (UCLH) spokesperson said “public health concerns” prompted the action.

Elodie Berland, who volunteers with outreach organisation Streets Kitchen… said the homeless men “had everything taken away from them”.

She said that about 10 tents were destroyed along with the men’s personal belongings as the Met issued a S35 dispersal order, which requires people to vacate an area for a maximum of 48 hours.

It seems Braverman’s final hate-filled wish as Home Secretary has been granted – ironically, by the police force she attacked in the newspaper article that prompted Rishi Sunak to sack her.


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Did you know councils will have to pay for asylum seekers after the Tory government ends hotel contracts?

These will be happy: the racists of Britain First must be celebrating Suella Braverman’s decision to accede to their demands and stop housing asylum-seekers at hotels. But with the number of people coming here dropping by only 20 per cent, is it a premature celebration? Will these hotels keep the migrants, but with councils forced to pay the bill?

Read this:

The UK government intends to terminate contracts with 50 hotels currently housing asylum seekers by the end of January, a move that threatens to offload the £8m daily cost onto already strained local councils. This decision emerges as part of the government’s broader efforts to tackle illegal migration and reduce the cost associated with processing and housing asylum seekers.

Critics argue it will merely shift the burden onto local councils, already grappling with financial strain and housing shortages. The Local Government Association (LGA), the national voice of local government in the UK, has warned that councils may have to house these asylum seekers in the very hotels the government is vacating. They call for additional funding and consultation in these decisions, underscoring the need for local authorities to be adequately equipped to accommodate these individuals.

The impression This Writer had, from watching our rubbish mainstream media news reports, was that the number of people getting across the Channel in boats had fallen by an amount significant enough that these hotels weren’t needed any more.

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Here’s a government tweet on the subject:

See what I mean?

There’s nothing about asylum-seekers being housed in the same hotels, but with local authorities forced to pay for it with the money they should be spending on public services.

It seems Suella Braverman is forcing your council to take the blame for her failure to handle the refugee issue.

Source: UK Government to End Hotel Contracts for Asylum Seekers, Leaving Local Councils to Shoulder the Burden


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Jeremy Corbyn stands against far-right anti-Semitism and more in Europe speech

Jeremy Corbyn: he has the wisdom of experience.

He has the fascists and the racists beaten every time!

Jeremy Corbyn, vilified and excluded from the Parliamentary Labour Party on trumped-up claims about anti-Semitism, attended the Council of Europe last week to speak in a debate on the rise of far-right-wing ideology in European politics.

He knew what he was talking about – he has seen it take over the party that he would have brought to general election victory in 2017, if not for interference from a far-right faction.

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And he took the opportunity to reiterate how it is the right – not the left – that uses racism to demonise minorities:

Wise words.


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Lord Sugar finally discovers the consequences of supporting Conservatives

Sugar: He’s probably not feeling too sweet right now.

I appear to have handed Lord Sugar his arse, without really trying.

He was on Twitter this morning (September 25), complaining about rubbish on the streets of Hackney. Here’s what he said and what I jotted off in response:

As you can see, a few people seem to have enjoyed my reply.

Of course, it does have the virtue of accuracy.


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Councils are going bankrupt after the Tory government cut their funding

Council tax bill: but the levy on residents of council areas won’t save some authorities, because it is a massive cut in CENTRAL government grant that is bankrupting them.

There’s not a lot to add to this because the fault is self-evidently with the Conservative government in Westminster.

Oh – this is different from the situation in Birmingham that was brought about by a coalition Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration imposing a sexist bonus scheme, for which the now-Labour-run council is going bankrupt while trying to pay compensation.

The fault still lies with the Tories, either way.


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If Rachel Reeves represents Labour’s best thinking, the UK is deep in the you-know-what

Fakes: Rachel Reeves, the fake Labour Chancellor, with her fake Labour leader, Keir Starmer.

I don’t know what image Rachel Reeves hoped to present with her stage-managed interview in The Guardian yesterday (Monday, July 10, 2023) – but the one we got was utterly, utterly awful.

If you’ve got a strong stomach, read the article and you’ll see what I mean about stage-management. She comes across as a total fake.

The really disgraceful stuff is in the segment about Ken Loach. The legendary film director was expelled from Labour in August 2021. It came amid accusations of anti-Semitism but that was never given as the reason for pushing him out.

So in the article we get this from Reeves:

(Loach himself was expelled from Labour in 2021 for appearing on a Labour Against the Witchhunt platform way before that organisation was proscribed by the party. The group was formed to campaign against what were seen as politically motivated allegations of antisemitism in the Labour party). This doesn’t sound like a broad coalition, does it? “Look, Keir’s No 1 thing when he became leader was he was going to tear out antisemitism at the roots, and that means there is a zero-tolerance approach.”

I tell her I am Jewish and that I agree with a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism, but the party is so gung-ho that it is now labelling people antisemitic who simply aren’t – and there is a danger of destroying lives in the process.

“Well, look, I’m not on the bodies that make those decisions, so I don’t know the details of that case. But it is so important that we are seen to – and we do – tackle antisemitism. Ken Loach, you might like his films, but his views … well, certainly, they are not ones I share.”

That doesn’t make him antisemitic, I say.

“You don’t think Ken Loach is antisemitic? OK. Well, I think we might have to agree to differ.”

Why does she think he is antisemitic? “Look, I’m not on the bodies that make these decisions, but I think it’s right we have a zero-tolerance approach,” she repeats.

You can’t make such an accusation without supporting it, I say.

“Well, look, I’m not on the body who makes these decisions,” she repeats yet again. Loach later tells me there was no due process in his expulsion: he was just told he was unfit to be a party member; antisemitism wasn’t mentioned.

She couldn’t support her claim that Mr Loach was anti-Semitic for one simple reason: he isn’t. And Labour doesn’t have any evidence to the contrary.

But I’ll tell you who was anti-Semitic: Nancy Astor.

Why do I mention this? Because of this:

If you want proof of Reeves’s support for Astor, I can provide it – because I called on Labour’s then-General Secretary to do something about it:

I never heard back from Jennie Formby. It seems that, like the Tories, the Labour leadership follows a One-Rule-For-You, A-Different-Rule-For-Us principle.

We can follow this through to some of the other things Reeves has said lately, like her refusal to commit to paying public sector workers a fair wage:

Public sector workers have seen their pay crumble away under the Tory government. Reeves, as a member of Parliament, has had her own pay shored up with public money, and her pay packet is worth as much in real terms as it was in 2010 when she was first elected.

As I suggested: one rule for us; a different rule for them.

She won’t put any public money into building new houses for people on councils’ waiting lists:

See? She wants to make profit for builders by getting them building private houses. Great for those who can afford it – but those most in need won’t be able to, because she won’t make sure they’re paid the living wage that is required to make that happen. One rule for them…

So she won’t support the “ordinary working people” (as Labour now defines us) – but she’ll happily speak up for a former member of the Tory government that inflicted on us the cruel austerity that has caused so many of these problems.

In so doing, she also took a swipe at protest movements – causing This Writer to note (in another article) that without protesters, she wouldn’t have the right to vote, let alone the chance to have the second-highest job in the land. Here’s Howard Beckett to explain:

That brings us back to the Guardian interview, that took place in Reeves’s home town.

It seems she was desperate to demonstrate that she was still in touch with her family roots.

Sadly, she and her party have long since left their political roots far behind them.


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Rishi Sunak caught lying about Tory achievements in local government?

Rishi Sunak in Parliament: he should check his facts before speaking – or was he just sneaking out a lie and hoping we wouldn’t notice?

Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak seems to have over-emphasized his party’s achievements in local government, as This Writer pointed out in a tweet:

I mentioned Guildford because the situation there was highlighted on Twitter recently, as follows:

So in this local government area, the Tories have increased council tax to the limit and have been cutting services – the exact opposite of the claim in Prime Minister’s Questions.

What’s the situation in your local government area?


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If Keir Starmer’s Labour is so great, why can’t he get local election candidates?

Starmer’s dilemma: traditional Labour voters don’t think his policies reflect their vision of the party – so they are abandoning him.

Keir Starmer’s purge of the Labour Party has worked so well, he’s struggling to get people to stand as candidates in the May local elections.

Constituency Labour Parties have been stripped of so many members, there aren’t enough living in particular wards to nominate candidates in line with party rules – or they couldn’t get anybody to stand:

Some may say that 185 seats out of more than 8,000 isn’t bad – but if all of these council seats would have been contested in the past, then this is a very poor showing.

It reflects a growing mood of disillusionment with Starmer himself:

Starmer himself is starting to be considered a liability in ever-widening groups, and these may be some of the reasons:

This comment is particularly cutting:

And other political parties are capitalising on Labour’s stagnation, picking up policies from the Jeremy Corbyn era and using them to entice voters. For example:

Will Labour win seats simply because, as Starmer believes, voters have nowhere else to go in a “First Past The Post” system where the fear is that the Tories will win if people of conscience don’t vote for what’s perceived to be the largest other party?

We’ll find out in less than a month.


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