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Labour demands fair funding for Durham


May 20, 2017

COUNTY Durham Labour is demanding an end to crippling Government funding cuts that have so far sliced more than £180 million from the county’s budget.

MPs, council leaders, the Police Crime Commissioner, councillors and Labour Party members will stand shoulder to shoulder at County Hall on Tuesday to highlight the ongoing fight for a fair deal for County Durham.

The party is calling on people to back its petition (here: https://countydurhamlabour.co.uk ) calling for an end to the county’s budget cuts, which are a threat to many public services, school funding, social care provision, the emergency services, and the NHS.

Hundreds of families, businesses and households have already signed the petition, but Labour want to drive it into the thousands before delivering it to No.10. 

Since 2010, Government cuts have been far greater in the north than the south, year after year, threatening services across County Durham and has already led to the authority losing more than 2,000 posts.

Leader of the Durham County Council Labour Group, Simon Henig, said: “We are gathering to call on the Government to change its policies and provide a fair funding deal for County Durham. 

“While we struggle to maintain frontline services, the Government has been making sweetheart deals with Surrey and handing out millions in transition grants to councils across the South East of England.

“After seven years of cuts, enough is enough – this election provides us with the platform to once again raise this injustice and fight for a fair deal for County Durham. We don’t want special treatment, we don’t want more than other areas, we just want fairness to make sure that the people of our fantastic county receive the care, support and services they deserve.” 

Kevan Jones MP for North Durham said: “Durham County Council has lost almost £185m as a result of Government-imposed austerity. However, it continues to deliver large scale inward investment like Hitachi, infrastructure improvements, huge public events like Lumiere and Kynren worth millions to our economy and retaining the link with communities that makes Labour the people’s party. 

“The Labour council has also pledged to deliver on key priorities, continuing to encourage economic growth, redoubling efforts to make Durham a safe, clean and green place to live and to bring the quality jobs that will drive prosperity. 

“All of this is happening while the Government removes enormous handfuls of funding from our coffers – just imagine what we could do with the same fair funding deal as those authorities in the Conservative heartlands.” 

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said: “Durham is one of the police forces most impacted by austerity. The numbers don’t lie, since 2010 we’ve lost 375 officers. At the start of 2017, we have 25% fewer officers than we did in March 2010.

“The Government deal agreed with Surrey to fund the county’s social care recently is interesting because while Durham has lost a quarter of its police officers in seven years, Surrey has lost a mere 1%.” 

Coun Alan Napier, Durham County Council deputy leader, said: ”The Conservative Government has increased the economic burden placed on County Durham that the Liberal Democrats so happily backed in the coalition. 

“Since 2010, our county has been planning a way through austerity with the least impact on our communities and residents. We have taken a sensible approach to finances, asking residents what services they valued most and protecting them. But the more money cut each year, the more difficult it becomes to sustain this. 

“For the future of County Durham, these huge government austerity cuts must end now – and these upcoming elections provide us with the perfect opportunity to show we will stand for it no longer.”

By Emily