Sunak hits out at Labour-run councils for making ‘working people pay the price’

Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

LONDON: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has hit out at Labour-run councils across the country, with local election polls predicting widespread defeats for Conservative candidates.

During PMQs, Mr Sunak said taxes controlled by Labour – including in Wales, London and Birmingham – were indicative of what the party would do in government.

Referring to Birmingham council, the Prime Minister stated: “what Labour has done to Birmingham the Conservatives will never let them do to Britain.”

Local elections on May 2 will see nearly 2,700 council seats in England up for grabs across 107 local authorities, while 37 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales will also be chosen.

Votes are also taking place to elect some of the most high-profile mayors in the country – including Greater Manchester, London and the West Midlands.Responding to calls from Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer during PMQs to reveal how the Tories would fund a £46 billion plan to scrap national insurance, Mr Sunak said: “We’ve just cut taxes by £900 for a typical worker, we’ve delivered the biggest tax cut for businesses since the 1980s, but while we’re cutting taxes Labour is already putting them up.

“In Wales putting up taxes right now for small businesses, in Birmingham putting up council tax by 21 per cent, in London his mayor has put up taxes by 70 per cent and this is just a glimpse of what they’d do if they got in power, a few weeks ago he finally admitted it to The Sun, what did he say he would do? I quote, he said ‘we would put up taxes’.

“It’s always the same, higher taxes and working people paying the price.” Later in the session, Conservative MP Andy Carter (Warrington South) said the Labour-run council in Warrington had amassed a nearly £2 billion debt.

He told MPs: “Every month my constituents see the Labour-run Warrington council spend nearly £4.5 million on interest payments to cover their £1.8 billion debt.“Borrowing they used to spend on an energy company that went bust, offices in Birmingham and Manchester, and even a business park that they purchased through an off-shore company, presumably to avoid paying tax.

“Does the Prime Minister agree with me it’s time to send in the inspectors, Warrington council has gone too far in its money-making schemes.“A local council should focus on delivering great services and the way to achieve that is vote Conservative.”

Mr Sunak replied: “This year the Government announced a further £600 million in extra funding for local councils, a real terms increase, which it has done every single year of this Parliament.

“But we all know what happens when Labour are in charge, whether it’s racking up debt in Warrington, the 21 per cent council tax increase in Labour-run Birmingham or indeed slashing services in Nottingham or as I just said, higher crime on average in each Labour police and crime commissioner area.

“It’s crystal clear that whenever Labour are in charge, it’s working people that pay the price.”Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston) challenged the Prime Minister on the number of social houses supplied during the tenure of Conservative mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

She said: “While 64,000 people are on the waiting list for a council house in the West Midlands, families are living in hotels, in cold and damp homes and mouldy flats.“The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has built 46 social homes in eight years, does the Prime Minister think that is good enough?”

Mr Sunak replied: “Andy Street is absolutely delivering for the West Midlands, unlike the Labour Mayor in London he’s delivered on all his housing targets in fact.“But it’s a Labour-run council in Birmingham that’s imposing on her constituents and others a 21 per cent council tax rise, and what are they getting in exchange for that? 600 job losses, cuts to services, in some streets they’re even turning off the lights. “I tell you, what Labour has done to Birmingham the Conservatives will never let them do to Britain.”