Recent comments by Tory front bencher Caroline Spelman don’t bode well for Blackburn with Darwen Council. Here’s my letter to Conservative council leader Michael Lee:
Caroline Spelman, Tory Shadow Secretary for Communities and Local Government, is quoted in the Sunday Telegraph (4th April) as complaining that the Government grant to local councils unduly favours town and cities against shire counties and districts.
The argument does not stand up to examination. Are the Tories in favour either of increasing the total grant for councils (in which case where is the money coming from?) or taking it from towns and cities to redress the alleged imbalance?
As you are aware Blackburn and Darwen has benefited greatly from the Government allocation, the second highest in the country, allowing us to address the 18 years of Tory underfunding.
We have benefited from Building Schools for the Future Funding, new build for our hospital, additional money to address the problem of potholes, millions to help tackle the worst housing in the Borough, millions to tackle skills shortage and to address unemployment, millions to help small businesses and millions to address transport issues.
We saw money for concessionary fares being given away to districts and County. Are you in agreement of taking this a step further and supporting a reduction in our grant from Government in favour of districts and County?
Are you, David Foster and Tony Melia in favour of grant and services being cut in Blackburn and Darwen so that money can be re-distributed to shire counties and districts
Do you agree that Blackburn and Darwen should be losing money in this way?
If not will you state publicly that you are opposed to Tory policy of changing the way our town is funded?
We’ll be posting his response here as and when we receive it.