Tories accused of ‘hypocrisy’ in request for more local authority cash

Tory councillors have been accused of “brass neck and hypocrisy” following a motion asking the new government for more local authority funding.

A motion to full council moved by Essex County Council leader Councillor Kevin Bentley and seconded by Councillor Louise McKinlay said: “This council wishes to urgently work with the new government to ensure extra pressures on council finances are properly funded.”

However, the motion has been attacked by Labour councillors who questioned why the Tory administration had not demanded more money while the previous Conservative government was in place.

The motion continued: “We are trusted to deliver important services by residents but increasing demands are putting financial strains on all local authorities. The recent Local Government Association White Paper highlighted a funding gap of more than £6bn over two years for the sector.

“This council expects the new Government and the new Secretary of State for the local government sector to engage with the leader of Essex County Council without delay, to ensure that full funding for the vital services this council deliver are made a top priority in the new Government’s 100-day plan. A copy of this motion is to be sent to the Secretary of State for Local Government.”

Councillor Aidan McGurran (Labour, Pitsea) said: “You have demonstrated a degree of brass neck and hypocrisy that I didn’t think you were capable of so well done on that if nothing else.”

He added: “You can shout loud to the government now but you’ve been silent for 14 years, silent when the the economics basis of local government was butchered by your government and you remained silent you didn’t do anything about it.”

Deputy leader Cllr Louise McKinlay said it is right that local authorities take the opportunity at the start of a new Government to make clear what local authorities “need, want and expect”.

She added: “With those challenges also come opportunities and I believe it is a reset for our relationship with national governments as well to make sure that we are marking out what it is that we in this sector not only do on a daily basis but what we could do if we were empowered to make those decisions.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter