From 2015-16 to 2019-20, north-east councils will have access to £11.3 billion in core spending power. The 2018-19 settlement sees a 1.9% increase in the money available to north-east councils.
The Minister will be aware that north-east councils have had a 50% cut in Government grant since 2010. At the same time, the richest individuals in this country have had a £10 billion tax cut. Does he think it is right that these needless tax cuts are paid for by local government jobs, pay cuts and the loss of local government services?
On the subject of those who can afford it building up savings, I might point out to the hon. Gentleman that his local authority—I remind him, as I am sure he knows, that every seat except one is held by the Labour party—has increased its reserves by £7 million since 2010, so perhaps he should be addressing his questions on redundancies and closures to the local Labour party.
The Minister knows that the slashing of funding for Newcastle City Council can be seen in the increased litter on our streets, increased crime rates as youth services are cut and reduced public services generally. What will he say to my constituents who want to know why central Government care so little for their wellbeing?
On whether central Government care for people in Newcastle, I would say that surely they, like the hon. Lady, should welcome the £600 million of new money provided for the devolution deal; the Great Exhibition of the North, opening this Friday, which is set to boost her local economy by £184 million; the Budget announcement of £337 million for the Tyne and Wear Metro; north-east local enterprise partnerships having £379 million invested in them directly; and the north-east investment fund just announced, with £120 million. This is a golden era of Government investment in the north-east, but it takes the Conservative party to deliver it.