Labour candidate slams Tory ‘fair deal’ comment

Scott Dickinson

Scott Dickinson

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A would-be MP and member of Northumberland County Council’s Labour administration has hit back at criticism from the Conservatives, claiming comments about a fair deal for the county reveal that the Tories are ‘out of touch’.

Last week, Conservative politicians pointed out that Northumberland County Council will lose just one per cent of its budget in the proposed local government finance deal, below the national average funding cut of 1.8 per cent.

Berwick parliamentary candidate, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “The fact is at one per cent the proposed funding reduction for Northumberland is the smallest reduction in the region. It compares to that of Newcastle City Council which will see a 4.9 per cent reduction.

“After years of being left to the very bottom of funding for council services and for local schools by successive Labour governments, local Conservatives have been calling for a better deal for our county and that rebalancing is now starting to happen. We are seeing a major boost for our roads and our schools.”

Conservative Group Leader Coun Peter Jackson said: “This Government is giving a fair deal to Northumberland and the council should be able to deliver sensible savings while protecting front-line services for local taxpayers.

“Instead the Labour council’s plan in Northumberland is to hike council tax by the maximum possible amount and blow £40million of residents’ money on a brand-new white-elephant council headquarters in Ashington.”

But Labour’s parliamentary candidate and the county council’s business chairman, Scott Dickinson, hit back, saying the £3million cut was on top of £44million-worth of savings already announced.

He said: “How can the sacking of thousands of employees at the council, huge plans for privatisations where hundreds more would lose their jobs and a cost of living crisis designed in Tory central office be a ‘fair deal for Northumberland’?

“Local Tories are out of touch with the reality of life in Cameron’s Britain and this comment by the Tory group leader is evidence of this.

“Does he think the rise in the use of food banks and the unfair introduction of the bedroom tax is a fair deal for Northumberland too?”