Simon Danczuk MP

Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow

Letter from Parliament 18 March

He may have surprised everyone by announcing a sugar tax in this week’s budget, but George Osborne did little to sweeten the deal when it comes to funding vital services in Rochdale.

Ahead of the budget statement on Wednesday, I called on the Chancellor to reverse some of the savage budget reductions that have had a devastating impact on hardworking families in our town over the last five years.

This half a decade of cuts, first under the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition and now under a Conservative majority Government, have hit our town hard. But the figures suggest worse is yet to come.

Income from Central Government grants, council tax, and business rates are all set to fall, putting even more pressure on our already strained public services.  

According to research, Rochdale Council will have lost £590 per household in spending power by 2020 thanks to Mr Osborne’s politics of austerity. In contrast, South Cambridgeshire has received an increase of £14 per household. It is no coincidence that Tory heartlands have received millions of pounds in extra funding in the run-up to May’s local elections.

It speaks volumes that Mr Osborne chose to hand a considerable tax break to the UK's largest corporations instead of giving councils in struggling areas a reprieve from his relentless cuts.

As a final insult to local people, Mr Osborne announced an extra £700m for the UK’s flood defences. After years of underinvestment in the Environment Agency and flood prevention, this will be too little too late for the many homeowners and businesses in Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow.

Mr Osborne’s eighth budget was more of the same, with those who can least afford it expected to shoulder the heaviest burden while the well off are protected from the worst.

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