Shadow CLG secretary attacks Localism Bill
The new shadow communities secretary has panned the government’s flagship Localism Bill, saying it only passes responsibility for cuts and not power.
Hilary Benn took over from Caroline Flint on Monday following Labour leader Ed Miliband’s cabinet reshuffle.
He said the Localism Bill was a vehicle for the government to hand cuts to councils rather than tackling financial issues itself.
‘We need strong councils. But under this Tory-led government, councils are facing big challenges,’ he said.
‘While councils are working hard to help to create jobs, provide more homes and support vulnerable people they are having to dealing with a government which has slashed their budgets.
‘A government which talks a lot about localism but in reality is only keen on devolving responsibility for cuts.’
He said he was looking forward to getting to grips with his new brief: ‘Communities and homes are at the heart of our society, and what local government does can make a real and positive difference to our lives,’ he said.