As date of May 5th looms large in the minds of Liberal Democrat councillors, the party is resorting to blatant lies and distortion to stave off electoral decimation. Writing to residents in Manchester [download leaflet], the party has made the astonishing claim that there are no cuts to frontline services in Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield City Councils!
“Other councils suffering almost identical cuts in funding are protecting their frontline services”
Here’s what “does not include anything like that” actually means in a council which has re-written the contracts of 26,000 low and middle income workers while rejecting pay cuts to top council officers:
- 2,500 job losses this year, and 10,000 by 2015
- £118m slashed from the Adult Social Services budget
- £69m cut from Children’s Social Services budget
- 11,000 vulnerable people lose entitlement to home care
While they are nevertheless frontline, cuts in Sheffield seem relatively modest by comparison:
- 670 job losses this year
- A 21% cut to Sure Start services.
But this is because the party have front-loaded savings and reserves — leaving a massive black hole unaccounted for the in the council’s finances. The next administration (likely to be Labour) will need to make swingeing cuts in the 2012/13 budgets and beyond because the Lib Dems have used up all the savings.
There is a £220 million hole in the council’s finances over the next 4 years. But, in order to pretend that the cuts are not as bad as required, the Liberal Democrats have decided to use all the available savings – including the £5 million put on one side for the Housing PFI to repair the city’s roads – next year.
Sheffield leader Paul Scriven was left red faced when his cringeworthy training video for a local hotel was leaked onto YouTube. Perhaps he can put his singing and dancing talents to use in a Liberal Democrat pantomime:
We didn’t cut that! … Oh yes, you did!