Your Government's efforts to deal with the deficit so far have been focussed on cutting public spending. This has meant that since 2010 1,500 Fire fighters have lost their jobs, over 300 libraries and 400 Sure Start centres have closed, police numbers have been reduced by over 6,000 and there are 5,000 less nurses. We are seeing a rise in people relying on food banks which is a sign that people are facing high levels of economic and social distress.
We believe that you should invest in growth. Local Government is the only part of the public sector that is helping the economy grow, by providing infrastructure investment and supporting local businesses. Allowing local government to borrow against its assets will enable local government to invest in building houses creating much needed jobs
Councils have been handed some of the deepest cuts in the public sector. Local Authorities have seen their budgets cut by 33% in comparison to 8% to Whitehall departments. Further cuts to local government would only shift costs to other services leading to higher long-term costs in healthcare, education and prison services.
We believe that you face a clear choice, rather than hitting front line services, this Budget presents the opportunity to pool funding across public agencies. It would save taxpayers up to £4 billion each year. We are offering to help deliver this policy.
At a time of increased unemployment, the nation's safety net has been cut. The Bedroom Tax, council tax benefit cut and other cuts will mean that many people will struggle to keep their heads above water.
We believe that you should support those who are being hit hardest by the economic downturn. Scrapping the bedroom tax and looking again at the costs to families of all the benefit changes should be a priority before giving a tax cut to the richest.
As Chancellor you are in a position to get our economy back on track, by freeing up local government to drive local growth by reforming services and by making sure that those with the broadest shoulders carry the heaviest load.