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Cuts 'hit hard-up areas the most'

Hard-up parts of England have been hit by spending cuts 16 times greater than the most affluent areas since the Coalition took power, Labour has claimed.

The 10 council areas classed as most deprived have lost around £782 per household while wealthier areas have seen just a £48 fall, according to the party's analysis.

Shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn accused the Government of taking most from those who have the least and pledged to devolve more cash and powers under a Labour government.

In a letter to council leaders, he said: "The Prime Minister and the Local Government Secretary say that tough times involve tough choices, but they have forgotten one very important principle. Tough times demand tough choices that are fair.

"And yet if we look at the way in which the Tory-led Government has chosen to take most from those who have least - the most deprived local authorities - it is clear just how unfair and unjustifiable this is.

"David Cameron's Government have made the wrong choices. They have ducked tough decisions and passed the hardest ones down to you, and they have failed to apply the basic principle of fairness.

"They had a choice, and they made the wrong one as far as communities up and down the country are concerned."

Households in the London borough of Newham have been hardest hit with spending power down by £1,002 while neighbouring Hackney was close behind on £973, according to the research.

Some Surrey local authorities saw an increase, with Elmbridge up by £41 for every home and Waverley by £26, the study showed.

Local government minister Kris Hopkins said: "Under Labour council tax bills more than doubled whilst local services like bin collections halved. Ed Miliband would hike up taxes on people's homes, and in Wales, the Labour Government are now actively supporting monthly bin collections. It's clear under Labour, you pay more and get less.

"Local government, which accounts for a quarter of public spending, was strangled in red tape by Labour who turned a blind eye to massive waste and inefficiency in the public sector and ran up massive public debts.

"Councils need to do their bit to help pay off the deficit that Labour left. Councils can save money through more joint working, better procurement and cutting fraud."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2014, All Rights Reserved.


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