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Thursday 19th
posted by Luke James in Britain

CHANCELLOR George Osborne was accused yesterday of cynically attempting to lay the blame for Tory spending cuts with Labour councils.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell condemned “ideologically driven, unfairly distributed” cuts, in a statement issued with seven Labour council leaders.

They warned that cuts to libraries, elderly care and youth centres are “tearing apart the fabric of our local communities.”

Councils have seen their funding slashed by 40 per cent since the Tories took power in 2010, with more than 500,000 council jobs axed.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has already agreed a further 30 per cent cuts with the Chancellor ahead of next week’s spending review.

The letter makes clear that there will be no return to illegal local authority budgets, such as that set by Liverpool’s Labour-run council in defiance of Margaret Thatcher’s funding cuts.

But council leaders are clear that the Chancellor won’t fool the public over who is to blame.

“Cuts to local government are an attempt by the Conservative government to push the blame for cuts down to local government while dismantling the welfare state,” they wrote.

Six Green councillors and party leaders also delivered a letter to Downing Street calling for an end to “destructive” council cuts.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “Proposed cuts to local authority grants will unleash further devastation to communities across Britain. Enough is enough.”

David Cameron, who criticised cuts being made by Tory-run Oxford council, was also mocked over his hypocrisy yesterday during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds asked: “As the new leader of the anti-austerity movement in Oxfordshire, can you tell us how is your campaign going?”