Labour MP Bill Esterson slams Tory-Lib Dem Government for forcin

Bill Esterson

 

Labour’s MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson accused a government minister of forcing the closure of Aintree library in a heated debate in the House of Commons. 

The debate was about cuts in local government funding and a number of Merseyside MPs made the point that residents on Merseyside face cuts nearly three times the national average as a result of the unfair way the Tory-Lib Dem government has decided the budget. 

In the debate, Bill Esterson said that Sefton Council had had its budget cut by £116 million up to 2014 and has been given no choice other than to cut services including the much valued Aintree Library. 

The minister Brandon Lewis denied that Merseyside was being hit hard by the government despite evidence of the scale of cuts being much higher in councils like Sefton than in Tory voting areas in the shire counties.

Bill said: “Aintree Library is a victim of the government’s attack on the poorest areas of the country. Many elderly people, many children and families and many people on low incomes rely on the library in Aintree which is at the heart of the community and it is deplorable that the government has cut Sefton Council’s services in the way that it has. 

"But it’s not just the libraries which the government is forcing Sefton Council to close. Disabled people and pensioners are seeing their services threatened and we have already seen fees go up for sports pitches. 

"The council has done all it can to protect front line services but in the next few years the council will simply run out of money and will only be able to collect waste and pay for residential care. 

"Council services as we know them will simply no longer be available if this government continues with its cuts."

Bill said the Tories and Lib Dems in Government were disproportionately targeting working people to pay for their failing economic policies.

Bill said: “The Tory-Lib Dem Government has cut councils’ funding in the Liverpool Region by £266 per dwelling. That compares to £105 on average in England. In Wiltshire the figure is £50 while in Surrey it is just £19. 

"How can it be right that when Merseyside has some of the poorest areas in the country and Surrey is one of the richest areas?

"It is clear to me that the most deprived areas are bearing the brunt of this government’s cuts while the Tory heartlands are getting off scot free. The poorer areas are by definition the areas of greatest need yet areas like Aintree are being hit hardest by the government despite having a large elderly population many of whom live on low incomes.

“And that is without the bedroom tax. People with a spare bedroom will have to pay an extra £13 while those with two spare rooms will pay an extra £20. That includes disabled people, foster carers, parents with children in the armed forces and many older people who have lived in the same home all their lives and have a spare room for visiting relatives.

“What this government is doing to the people of Sefton Central is an absolute disgrace. The cuts to the council and the bedroom tax mean that my constituents are under a devastating assault from the Tories and I am afraid to say all of this is only possible thanks to the support of the Liberal Democrats.”

 

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