People in Haslingden and Hyndburn value and rely on local services like libraries, health facilities, childcare and care for the elderly, but the incompetence and arrogance of the Tory-led Government in Westminster means that Hyndburn and Rossendale Council’s ability to provide those services has been significantly weakened and it’s local people that will suffer the consequences.
Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, likes to present himself as a straight talker, rarely missing an opportunity to talk up his record and lecture councils about the right way to do things. But as we have come to expect from David Cameron and his Government, the gap between what they say and what they do is huge. They are letting local people down – more interested in pursuing headlines and playing political games than addressing the big problems facing places like Haslingden and Hyndburn.
Some of Pickles’ biggest failures include lecturing councils on cutting their costs while his own department was fined £20,000 for having an unauthorised bank overdraft of £217 million, claiming a poorly conceived £250 million scheme had “put a stop” to fortnightly bin collections when only five local authorities have said they will use the funding to bring back weekly collections, and saying that nobody should have to be homeless when there has been an increase of six per cent in the number of people registered as homeless or living in temporary accommodation.
Pickles has also said he would improve our high streets when he has actually made it easier for payday lenders, betting shops and fast food outlets to open in vacant shop properties, and he has claimed that he would build 170,000 new affordable homes by the end of this parliament when the number of affordable home completions has actually fallen by 29 per cent in the past 12 months.
People in Haslingden and Hyndburn are tired of the empty promises of the Tory-led Government in Westminster. They value local services but Eric Pickles and David Cameron have imposed the biggest cuts on local communities. That's plain unfair.