BUDGET: “SWEETHEART DEAL WITH SURREY GALLING”- MP STEVE REED
MP Steve Reed says it is ” galling” to see the Department for Communities and Local Government offering Surrey County Council a sweetheart deal that is denied to Croydon and people living in every other part of the country.
The Croydon North MP’s comments came during the Budget debate in Parliament.
“Like the rest of the country, Croydon is experiencing a social care crisis. “Older and disabled people regularly visit my office to say they cannot get home care and that they do not get adequate support when they leave hospital.
“Local charities are telling me that the funding that they need has dried up as well.
“After the Chancellor ignored the social care crisis in his autumn statement, we were hoping for better this time. “Although £2 billion extra over three years is a welcome start, it goes absolutely nowhere near resolving this crisis.
“These services have already been cut by £5 billion since 2010. “Some 26 per cent fewer people receive help today, even though there are more older people needing such help.
“All I can say to my older constituents and the disabled people who come to ask me what the Government are doing to help them is that the Chancellor has responded to their plight by imposing yet more cuts.
“It is not only Surrey that has this problem to deal with, but every local authority. “Every community is struggling with it. “I regret immensely that the Secretary of State failed to answer my question about whether he knew in advance about the letter that was sent from his department to Surrey County Council offering it a sweetheart deal.
“We need to know whether he knew about that in advance of its being withdrawn. “If he was party to it, the House needs to know that that is how he is attempting to operate within his Department and, if he did not know about it, the House needs to know that he has no grip on what his officials are up to.
“His constant evasion of the question will not suffice. “We need answers from the Secretary of State. “I am sure that in time we will get them.
Earlier Mr Reed, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Civil Society), had said: “The Secretary of State is lecturing the House on how finance works, but we would like to know more about how it works in his department.
“He has denied offering Surrey County Council a sweetheart deal, but the BBC has now published a letter from officials in the Department for Communities and Local Government which shows that they did, in fact, offer Surrey more cash in a unique deal.
“Did the Secretary of State know about that letter when he issued his denial?”
Responding, Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: “If the hon. Gentleman had cared to look at a written ministerial statement published on 9 February, he would have seen that it states very clearly that Surrey approached the Department, as do many other councils before a financial statement, asking for more money.
“It made a request for a business rates retention plan, which was firmly rejected”