MP YVONNE FOVARGUE - Fears grow for low income families

THIS month Wigan Council will set its budget and council tax against the backdrop of a sustained attack on our council by the present Government.

The Tory-led Government’s local government finance settlement is hitting the most deprived areas hardest.

And our local council is losing out and not getting a fair deal.

David Cameron and Eric Pickles are living in a world of their own. They simply don’t understand the impact that their decisions on funding are having on services and the local people who use and rely upon them.

The poorest in society are shouldering the burden of this Government’s cuts. We already knew cuts were being targeted in an unfair way. Pickles’s Poll Tax – council tax rises for working families on low incomes – comes in at the same time as the “bedroom tax” – confirmation that the nasty party never went away.

David Cameron’s local authority of West Oxfordshire – one of the richest parts of the country – will gain 3.1 per cent in spending power in 2013/14 while here in Wigan we will face a cut of 2.1 per cent, a reduction of £5.58m.

Because of the decisions of the Tory-led Government between 2010 and 2015 local residents are facing a reduction of £156.79 per head compared to residents of West Oxfordshire who are losing £60.

Even Baroness Eaton a former Tory Chair of the LGA, the national voice of local government has said that Eric Pickles’s understanding of the impact of the cuts on local government is “detached from the reality that councils are dealing with.”

It’s simply wrong and unfair.

We need a fair deal for the people of Wigan. In a stark reminder of the 1980s and the hit on northern communities that took place under Thatcher, Labour councillors will once again be in the vanguard of the fight to defend services and seeking to reduce the impact of the Tory attack on our communities.

As your council tax bill drops through the door spare a thought for the 13,000 millionaires who will gain £100,000 from April thanks to a tax cut from David Cameron. Evidence, if any more was needed, that we are most certainly not “all in this together!”