Labour run Manchester council are slashing front line services and closing community facilities like libraries and swimming pools. They are taking advantage of the financial crisis to make unpopular decisions and then blame the coalition government to score political points.
In Southampton the Labour Party refused to say what their plans would be if they ran the city. But we can be sure that they too would pursue the same cynical tactics; closing facilities and making the cuts as painful as possible.
In the last year that Labour ran Southampton City Council they hiked up council tax by a massive 18.5% and they have made it clear, that if they win the council elections in May, they will hike up council tax again; meaning rises of £300 or more a year.
By contrast, despite facing the toughest set of finances ever, Conservative run Southampton City Council is doing its utmost to protect front lines services and keep costs down for local residents.
In Southampton council tax will be frozen for the first time ever and care charges and parking charges won’t go up at all.All our swimming pools, leisure centres, Sure Start centres and libraries will stay open. In fact we will even be opening a new Library in the middle of the Millbrook estate.
More money will be spent repairing roads and pavements and looking after vulnerable children. This is all possible because we are tackling bureaucracy, stripping out layers of top management and getting better deals from suppliers.
We are also asking higher paid council staff to take a small pay cut whilst ensuring a pay rise for the lower paid. Those earning the most will have to take the biggest reduction. Labour instead want pay rises for those earning £70,000, £80,000 and even £100,000 a year and want big council tax rises, in particular on pensioner households, to pay for it. Some households could face over £400 more in council tax next year under Labour.
There is a clear choice at the local elections the May; a Conservative Party determined to protect services, keep council tax down and get the city through these tough times and a cynical Labour party dominated by the union bosses and hell bent on service cuts and crippling council tax rises to make their political points.