MP’s concern over ‘inaccurate’ cuts claim by Cameron

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A claim by Prime Minister David Cameron that prolonged cuts in council spending amount to ‘just 2.3 per cent’ have been challenged by a Sheffield MP.

Clive Betts, Sheffield South East Labour MP and chairman of the House of Commons All-Party Communities and Local Government Committee, said he believes the Prime Minister’s figure is inaccurate.

Mr Betts, who has written to Mr Cameron questioning the claim but received no reply, said: “The assertion was widely decried by all the local government organisations and professional bodies which had looked in detail at the figures. They suggested additional cuts were closer to 10 per cent.”

Cuts were supposed to be for five years up to 2015-16 but will now last for at least another two years.

Sheffield Council has already made cuts of £180 million and is saving £50m in the current financial year which will bring its annual budget down to about £380m. More cuts are planned.

Mr Betts said: “The failure to provide a proper reply is unacceptable. MPs and the public are entitled to a timely and honest response.”