20 MPs demand: fund local government to prevent a new phase of austerity and to support large scale council house building programme

Claudia Webbe
Claudia Webbe, MP

The Labour Campaign for Council Housing welcomes this letter by a cross-party collection of MPs. The 4 policies highlighted are included in a letter to the Labour leadership which we are collecting signatures to. It’s critical to campaign on these demands (see Claudia’s letter ). Richie Sunak’s Spending Review fails to address the funding crisis of local authorities which will lead to significant cuts in services and will reward ‘key workers’ with redundancy.

Cancellation of local authority debt would help stabilise council finances, providing between £4.5 billion – £5.5 billion a year. This would include at least £1.25 billion for local housing revenue accounts which currently have insufficient funds for the maintenance and renewal of their housing stock over the long term.

The pandemic is exacerbating the housing crisis yet there is no extra money for council house building; only £2.3 billion loans to house builders. Funding for a large scale council house building programme would address the housing crisis, promote socially useful economic activity and provide work in a period in which we face a huge increase in unemployment.”

Martin Wicks, Secretary Labour Campaign for Council Housing

Media Release

Cross-party MPs join Claudia Webbe MP in calling for an end to local austerity.

A cross-party group of Members of Parliament (MPs) have signed a joint letter co-ordinated by Claudia Webbe, Member of Parliament for Leicester East, to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The letter calls on the Secretary of State to fund local government to prevent a new phase of austerity. The MPs draw attention to the fact that the National Audit Office reported a 49.1% real terms reduction in government funding of local authorities between 2010-11 and 2017-18. The coronavirus crisis is further stretching councils that are already under-funded and under-staffed following a decade of austerity.

To prevent another round of austerity, the group of MPs call on the government to increasing funding, cancel existing debt, introduce a funding system based on social needs and build 100,000 council homes a year.

Claudia Webbe MP said:

“I am delighted that Members of Parliament from across the country have signed this important letter. Council leaders have already warned that services are being stopped or scaled back as they focus on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. This will leave more people who need help without it, including frontline workers who have kept our society going during this pandemic.

The lessons from the 2008 financial crash are clear. The 99 per cent must never again be forced to bailout the super-rich.

Instead of yet more austerity, we desperately need a recognition that in our country of deep and unequal wealth the top 1 per cent should be asked to contribute a little bit more.”

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