Saturday, March 05, 2011

LGA Labour Group Spring Conference: Ed Miliband

Today I went to my first LGA Labour Group Conference. The opening keynote address was by Ed Miliband in the historic Labour movement Bevin Hall.  The hall was packed to over flowing and there was standing room only.  Ed gave I thought a passionate and polished speech.  He particularly handled the Q&A very well.
Some key points from his speech were: - How unfair these Tory cuts will be - South Tyneside Council will lose £130 per person while Richmond Council will only lose £5.  7 out of the 10 most deprived local authorities will face the biggest cuts. Back office expenditure in Councils is only 9% of budget yet 28% will be cut. 
There is an alternative.  The cuts are so fast and so far that there is no time to adapt. They say the reason for the financial crisis is because we had a deficit.  Wrong - the reason we had a deficit is the financial crisis. 
It is very, very important we make it clear that this government is not just assaulting the poor - it is assaulting everyone on low or middle income.  The  top 1%-10% will be okay,  it is everyone else who will suffer.  Families with children who rely on Local authority services will lose £2700 per year and those without children will lose £1700.
The Tories are trying to shirk blame for these cuts by trying to devolve responsibility on local Councils. We need to judge this government on their deeds and not their words.
I tried to ask a question about the TUC March for an Alternative on Saturday the 26th but was not chosen on this occasion.   (There was widespread support for the March.)
The Q&A was quite different from normal. Ed asked questions back to those who raised issues.  Which is something I haven’t seen before and I think it “worked” and made the session far more interesting than usual. 
Next was the breakout sessions – I choose the one on “Representing our roots”.  Will post later-ish.
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