Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cameron told by Tories “Wake up!”

A local Labour leader has welcomed controversial comments by the Conservative leader of Warwickshire County Council, made in a letter from 30 Conservative Council Leaders to David Cameron.
The Labour leader of North Warwickshire Borough Council, Councillor Mick Stanley, has welcomed to the comments of Cllr Alan Farnell, as “a much needed blast of reality to David Cameron.”

More than 30 Conservative council leaders including Cllr Farnell have written a letter to David Cameron warning him to ‘halt attacks on local councils or lose our support’. It says that local grassroots party support for Mr Cameron’s re-election bid will be withdrawn unless ministers stop attacking local government. They warn of local anger among Conservative councillors about the “nature and tone of constant criticisms” directed at councils and urged the PM to stop “patronising language” being used to attack those “who work extraordinary long hours for our communities”.

The four-page letter sent to the PM, warns: “It is important that you understand how disappointed and even angry local activists are and how many might not be there when we need them as electoral foot soldiers.”

Those who have signed the letter include the Conservative leaders of Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Durham county councils. In total, 31 senior local councillors, mostly council leaders, have signed the document.

In recent months senior Conservatives including Eric Pickles and Grant Shapps, have made outspoken attacks on local authorities.

The letter says: “We believe it is essential to bring to your attention our concerns regarding some government policy affecting local government, the rhetoric that accompanies it and the effect it is having on our people. Importantly, it is not only the substance of such policy but also the nature and tone of constant criticisms of their work by Conservative ministers that is most worryingWe are open to genuine feedback where it can be evidenced that we have fallen short in some way. Our issue is with ill-informed and anecdote-based general criticism and sometimes highly inaccurate personal attacks.”

Cllr Mick Stanley says,

It’s about time some of the Conservative Councillors sent this much needed blast of reality to David Cameron. Maybe this out of touch government will listen to its own angry and disillusioned councillors. It listens to no one else.

“The government seems to think that slashing local government budgets is an easy option because councillors get the blame. Ministers have cynically cut council funding and as a cover for it, have denounced councils as extravagant. However, it puts pressure on the council tax and it cuts services to local people here. Pressure groups for the elderly and disabled and Labour have repeatedly warned the government that the vulnerable pay a high price for these cuts. But located in their ivory towers in Whitehall, Pickles, Shapps and Cameron have so far ignored people.

“Now their most loyal council leaders have broken ranks to collectively shout in Cameron’s ear ‘Oi, wake up! Smell the coffee! You are hurting vulnerable people in our area. Even your best friends can’t tolerate your attitude any more.’ I hope he will listen to Alan Farnell and stop the cuts, but I doubt it.”

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