We needed to make sensible savings to address Labour’s deficit. Local authority net current expenditure in England, excluding education, has risen from £74.7 billion in 2009-10 to £77.1 billion in 2013-14. At the time of the spending review, the budget for the core Department was reduced to £15.9 billion, reflecting an overall saving of 68%.
Since this Government took office, Newcastle has had its budget cut by 41% in real terms—almost half. My constituents are losing £115 per dwelling, while more affluent areas such as Surrey and Wokingham are gaining up to £20 extra per dwelling despite having less pressure on services. Will the Minister make a commitment to come to Newcastle to see the effects that his budget cuts are having on local services, and to explain to the people of Newcastle how they are fair?
I have had the pleasure of visiting the great city of Newcastle many times this year. It has the opportunity to invest money, support vulnerable individuals and spend further on public services by growing its business base. As a direct consequence of this Government’s interventions, 6,300 businesses have gained from our business tax discount.