A spokesperson for the MP for North Cornwall has responded to an open letter calling on him to sign an Early Day Motion calling on the government to give extra funding to ‘struggling councils’.
Councillor Leigh Frost, Cornwall Council member for Bodmin St Petroc’s and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at the local authority called on Scott Mann to sign the early day motion.
In the letter, Cllr Frost said that he wished to see the MP support the motion, submitted by Helen Morgan MP, as councils across the country ‘faced bankruptcy’.
In a response, a spokesperson for Scott Mann defended the record of the government, adding that as a member of it, he was unable to sign early day motions.
Cllr Frost wrote: “As you are aware, we have seen numerous councils across the country declare effective bankruptcy and the local government association itself reports that councils need a combined £3-billion of extra funding just to stand still.
“Despite years of financial prudence by Cornwall Council, even they are no longer secure, and it reported a £14-million budget overspend at the last cabinet meeting. This leaves most councils with no other option but to increase tax on an already over-taxed population, this is not sustainable.”
Commenting on the letter, he added: “As we are all aware, local government is on its knees. Councils are going bankrupt across the country, whilst others are cutting vital services to keep themselves afloat.
“Cornwall Council is not immune to this; at its last cabinet meeting it was reported that we are £14-million over budget! You’ve seen first-hand the cuts that have had to have been made, families are stuck in temporary accommodation indefinitely, potholes are filled slower, much needed drainage upgrades can’t go ahead, damaged roads aren’t being resurfaced. Adult social care cannot cope with the demand, and despite best efforts, we are failing our vulnerable young people. For no other reason than the political decision at Westminster to make wholesale cuts to local governments funding.
“Current estimates don’t predict things getting better. Local government desperately needs £3-billion of investment just to stand still let alone make improvements. The Council relies on government grants to fund its services, its only other option is council tax, a tax that’s constantly being raised burdening an already overtaxed population. This needs to stop.
“That’s why yesterday I wrote to Scott Mann MP to ask him to support Early Day Motion 67. It is a cross party motion that calls on the government to fund councils properly so they can serve their constituents properly. Doing nothing is not an option and a former councillor himself I hope he recognises how important it is that there are proper funding plans in place to support our councils so they can support their residents.”
Responding to Cllr Frosts letter, a spokesperson for Scott Mann, the MP for North Cornwall said that the government was supporting local authorities. They said: “As a member of the government Scott is unable to sign EDMs. This was the same convention that was in place when his predecessor was a minister in the coalition government.
“We have delivered record funding for North Cornwall. Bodmin was the first part place to receive Shared Prosperity Funding – the replacement programme for finance that was previously administered by the EU.
“North Cornwall has also benefited from funding redistributed from HS2 that will now go towards the Camelford Bypass project, and road maintenance to repair local roads. Scott is also very proud of the record levels of NHS funding that have allowed us to bring CT, MRI, and Ultrasound services to Bodmin Hospital for the first time.”