I know that families are really feeling the squeeze at the moment. People are working harder, for longer, for less – but at the same time, prices continue to go up and up. That’s why I backed Ed Miliband when he outlined a fairer tax system that works for everyone.
As well as cancelling the millionaire’s tax cut and the slashing of working tax credits, a future Labour government would introduce a mansion tax on homes worth over £2 million and use that money to cut taxes for working people on low and middle incomes. The reintroduction of a 10p tax rate would be a real benefit to ordinary working people and particularly the 2,750,000 basic rate taxpayers across Greater Manchester.
Other developments have been far less beneficial for our community in Tameside, though. It’s a sad fact that since 2010 the police have made £1 billion of cuts, which means that we now have 825 less police officers across Greater Manchester, including 652 fewer frontline police. Any reduction to the front line puts our community at risk, with fewer officers responding to 999 calls and far less visible policing.
In the parliamentary debate on the police grant settlement I highlighted the wider knock-on effect these cuts are having on services such as crime and disorder reduction partnerships, which have seen local government, housing associations and police forces working together to reduce crime and the fear of crime in Tameside. Such severe cuts jeopardise the good work and progress they have made and will make this type of joint working much harder in the future
I also slammed reduction to local government funding when I spoke in the Local Government Finance debate. Tameside Council is losing over £160 of central government grant funding for every man, woman and child living in the borough, which will have a huge impact on the services it can provide and will leave the council with some very tough decisions to make in Audenshaw, Denton and Dukinfield, as well as other parts of the borough.
It is clear that Metropolitan areas like Tameside are being hit much harder than anywhere else in the country and it is the poorer areas that will bear the brunt of the cuts. At the same time as Tameside is seeing its budget slashed, the spending power of West Oxfordshire Council (David Cameron’s local authority) and Cheshire East Council (George Osborne’s local authority) are seeing their funding increased or at the very least protected.
This is so unfair, but this out-of-touch Tory-led government just doesn’t seem to get it.
This article was written for the Tameside Reporter newspaper and appeared on February 21st 2013