I TAKE my hat off to our local Labour council, which is facing the biggest government attack on our community since Thatcher.
I remember, because I was around at the time in the frontline of local politics, when she destroyed our local industries.
With little industry left in the North East compared to the pre-Thatcher days, the Tories are now venting their wrath on local government.
In only three years of a Tory-led Government, the financial cuts to local government have been relentless.
Even the independent all-party Commons Public Accounts Committee, which exposed the tax situation of Google and Starbucks, has warned that councils are on the verge of financial collapse.
These privileged set of millionaire government ministers don’t have a clue of the full effects their austerity programme is having on council purse-strings.
South Tyneside has been hit harder than most, with more than 1,000 council jobs shed in the last three years and having to make £75m of savings.
And things won’t get any easier over the next few years, with £48m of cuts expected as a result of the substantial reductions in funding from central government.
In fact, South Tyneside is among the worst-hit areas in the country, with a loss of £633 per head, compared with areas in the prosperous leafy Tory south, at only £192 per head!
Only a Tory government would penalise the most vulnerable communities whose need of public services is greatest by imposing higher reductions in spending power.
And yet amazingly enough many Tories in Parliament are howling for even deeper cuts!
Of course, big challenges lie ahead. But our Labour council is doing everything in its power to help vulnerable residents from the impact of the Government’s cuts, and strives to make changes to the way it works in order to improve local services.
Along with my fellow Labour councillors, we will work together to fight these unfair attacks on our area, as it is a wonderful place to live, invest in and bring up families!