PM’s critical letter to local council backfires

David Cameron
David Cameron

A letter from the Prime Minister to his local council, criticising its cuts to services, has left him open to attack from opposition politicians over his apparent lack of understanding of Government policy.

David Cameron wrote to the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire County Council about the impact of austerity measures, and offered the council advisor from the Number 10 Policy Unit to help out.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson is says the PM’s offer of Government would be welcomed by Borough Hall.

He said: “If Mr Cameron’s offer of support from the Number 10 Policy Unit is being made available equally to all councils, as surely it should be, we will obviously take him up on it.

“Indeed, we will talk to anyone about saving money as we fight to protect as many important services as we can in the face of these massive government cuts.”

The borough has had to find savings of £81 million from its annual budget since 2010, with projected extra government cuts of between 25 per cent and 40 per cent contributing to an estimated £25 million of extra savings required by 2020.

Mayor Hodgson has warned that while Bedford Borough Council has been extremely successful in protecting services until now, these additional government cuts will mean reductions in services will be unavoidable.

The scale of the government cut to authorities overall is set be revealed in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next Wednesday, with individual allocations for Councils to follow later.

Meanwhile, Bedford’s 38 Degrees campaign group has announced it hopes to hand a 286-signature petition to MP Richard Fuller next Wednesday, urging him to oppose tax credit cuts and ask him to talk to George Osborne on behalf of low-paid workers, as part of a nationwide 38 Degrees effort to petition MPs across the country.

However, Mr Fuller, who believes companies should move towards paying a living wage of £9 per hour, said the group has yet to contact him to arrange a meeting.