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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:58 AM


UK: Tories targeting cities run by Labor governments with cuts: Labor predicts civil unrest

Alarming predictions of social unrest and the break-up of civil society have been delivered by the leaders of three of England's biggest cities, amid new evidence that government policies are widening rather than narrowing the economic divide between north and south.

In a letter to the Observer, the council leaders of Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield where Nick Clegg is an MP issue a plea to government to halt cuts that they say unfairly penalise the north relative to the south, before crime and community tensions erupt on the streets...

Having already budgeted for cuts of hundreds of millions of pounds since 2011, the council leaders all from Labour-run cities say the latest cuts have blown further holes in their finances, meaning that by 2018 they fear being unable to provide acceptable levels of essential services including social care for the elderly, refuse collection, and others such as libraries and sports facilities. On top of that they say their attempts to generate local economic activity are running into the sand because of lack of funds...

Analysis done by the public services union Unison shows that all the top 10 gainers from the scheme in cash terms were in the south while all top 10 net losers were in the north. The figures from the last year show Liverpool was a net loser from the bonus scheme by more than 2m while Basingstoke and Deane gained by 1m. Most of the councils gaining are Tory-run and those losing out are controlled by Labour.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: "It is grossly unfair that the government is using its New Homes Bonus scheme to shift scarce resources from the hard hit north to wealthier parts of the south. Over 60% of money is spread between London, the south-east, east of England and south-west. It cannot be a coincidence that the Tory heartland is where most money is being directed."


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