This week Labour’s Shadow DCLG team set out in detail what a Labour Government would mean for local councils like Lambeth.
Power, money and responsibility will be passed down to town halls so that they can decide how best to use limited resources. Unlike the Tories, who have made the wrong choices, ducked tough decisions and taken the most from those who have least, a Labour Government will be better for Lambeth because it will:
1. Ensure funding is allocated more fairly
Under the Tories, households in the ten most deprived local authorities have faced a reduction in spending power 16 times greater than the ten least deprived. Lambeth’s funding is estimated to have fallen by £239 per head since 2010. Labour will not have any more money to give to local government, but there will be one difference; the money we have will be distributed more fairly.
2. Abolish the bedroom tax
The bedroom tax has hit the poorest families hardest and has done nothing to ease London’s housing crisis
3. Devolve over £30bn of existing Government money to local councils for economic development
The funding will not be dictated by Whitehall but will be decided at a local level and used to ensure greater local control over transport infrastructure investment, help to equip young people with the right skills to take the jobs of the future and to tackle London’s housing crisis. Too many families are trapped in private rented accommodation, paying off someone else’s mortgage instead of paying towards a home of their own and Labour’s plans will help give councils the resources they need to build more affordable homes.
4. Introduce longer term funding settlements
Under a Labour Government Whitehall will no longer set local councils an annual budget. Instead councils will be provided with a longer term financial settlement so councils can plan ahead with greater certainty and reinvest savings.
5. Integrate health and social care to help keep elderly and vulnerable people out of hospital
Labour will legislate to allow areas to move towards a single commissioning budget across all of health and social care so that we take the money and staff we have – in our hospitals, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities – to work together to provide better care.
6. Tighten up the coordination of early years services to ensure children are given the best start
Investing at the start makes the biggest difference later on, yet support for young children can be fragmented and poorly co-ordinated across communities. That’s why a Labour Government will ensure all childcare providers and health services co-operate with Sure Start centres locally as the new hubs of family support in communities. Labour will also make the criteria for identifying troubled families more flexible so that councils can work with those they see as a priority.