Andy Burnham Was Right To Demand Better. And He Speaks For The Rest Of The Country Too

Taj Ali
·1-min read

The government’s recent announcement of a tier-3 lockdown in the Greater Manchester region without adequate financial support has been met with fury from the region’s mayor, Andy Burnham.

And he has every right to be angry. £22 million for the entire Manchester region equates to financial support of a measly £8 per head during a month-long local lockdown.

Boris Johnson has now acquiesced to offer Greater Manchester councils £60m.

But this isn’t the first time that local government has been neglected, nor should these talks have taken such a sour turn.

A decade of austerity has meant local government has been systematically under-funded for years. Working class communities like my own are still reeling from its impact and now we are being faced with another round of potential austerity measures as the government provides inadequate support to local councils.

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In my home town of Luton, my local council is on the brink of financial failure and has been forced to make a series of cuts to public services in order to prevent bankruptcy.

This crisis has its roots in the austerity measures imposed by the coalition government a decade earlier. Since 2010, the government has cut grants to local councils from £32.2 billion to £4.5 billion as part of a national austerity programme.

In the absence of adequate government support, many councils such as my own have been forced to turn to unstable commercial sources of income in order to fund public services.

What happened in Manchester could easily happen in any other part of the country. We must demand better.

For my local council, this has meant heavy reliance on London Luton Airport to fund services such as childcare. In...

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