Derek has this week written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in support of the Leader of Halton Borough Council, Cllr Rob Polhill's, call for a fair pay rise for council workers to be fully funded by central government and calling on the Chancellor to use the Local Government Finance Settlement next week to begin to reverse the devastating funding cuts to Halton. You can read both their letters below.
I attach a copy of the letter sent to you from the leader of Halton Borough Council, Cllr Rob Polhill. I fully support his and many other council leaders’ calls for central government to fully fund the cost of a pay rise for local government workers.
Local government workers in my constituency of Halton have effectively suffered real term pay cuts since 2010; combined with increases to the cost of living and the severe pressures they are facing due to the continued slashing of government funding to areas like Halton, this has meant that these workers; many of whom are my constituents, are people at the forefront of the brunt of government funding cuts.
In addition to the issue of pay rises for council workers, I am extremely concerned about the funding cuts that central government have imposed on Halton Borough Council. I have lived in this area all of my life and I can see first- hand the terrible effect that government funding cuts are having on my constituency and on my constituents. Currently by 2020, Halton will have endured cuts of £63 million, 61 per cent of its income.
Labour Councillors in Halton have done their very best to protect the weakest, most vulnerable people and vital public services from the financial cuts inflicted on Halton by government. However, I cannot see how this can continue with a forecast deficit by this financial year end of £2 million in their Adult Social Care Budget and £6 million in their Children’s Social Care Budget.
I ask that you urgently start to reverse the cuts planned for councils like Halton in the Local Government Finance Settlement next week.
Derek Twigg MP
As Labour council leaders we run councils that employ hundreds of thousands of hard-working staff who are delivering vital public services to the British public. We rely on our workforce to keep our children safe, offer support to vulnerable elderly and disabled people, and to staff the services we all use – such as children’s centres, parks, and libraries.
With the cost of living rising by 22.6% since 2010, local government workers have lost the equivalent of £1 of every £5 they earned before and are now the lowest paid in the public sector. Women, who make up 78% of the local government workforce, are bearing the brunt.
Our ability to offer the sort of pay rise our workers deserve is severely restrained by the cuts you have forced on local councils. Core funding to local government will have been slashed by an astonishing 77%, with the cross-party Local Government Association estimating a funding gap of £5.8bn by 2020. It is vital that you take the opportunity of the Local Government Finance Settlement to ensure we have the resources to give our staff a fair rise.
Therefore as Labour Council leaders we are calling on you to:
Lift the 1% pay cap on public sector workers, including for workers in local government
Guarantee that a pay rise for local government workers will be fully funded by central government
Urgently address the £5.8bn gap in funding that councils face by 2020
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you.
Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council,
With Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of the LGA Labour Group, and 89 other Labour council leaders