Taking the fight to the Tories

Last week, Labour Uncut adversely criticised all the leadership candidates for failing actively to get stuck into opposing the government.  We called on them to lead by example, now and in the months to come, rather than endlessly pontificating about what they would do if they were leader.

Subsequently, we heard from team Balls that Ed had in fact tabled 40 Parliamentary questions to Michael Gove that week.  Today he has released the following letter to Michael Gove.

This is more like it, we think.

Any examples other candidates might like to send us of what they’ve been actually doing to take the fight to the Tories will be published in the same way.

Ed Balls’ letter to Michael Gove

Dear Michael

As you will be aware, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have today given interviews about the government’s immediate cuts to public spending this year.

In both cases they are breaking promises given before the election. David Cameron promised he would reject cuts to frontline services, but has now approved billions of pounds of cuts to services provided by local government, jobs for young people and university places. Nick Clegg said he opposed immediate cuts this year because it would put growth, jobs and the economic recovery at risk, but is now supporting the risky measures he warned against.

You have announced £670 million of cuts to your Department’s budgets this year. However, there has been no detail of where these cuts will fall: no statement to Parliament, no communications to concerned schools or local authorities, and no answers to my questions in last week’s Queen’s Speech debate.

As I said in that debate, there are cuts that have to be made, and we will support them, as I did before the election in outlining cuts to a range of non-departmental bodies. However, we will not support cuts that undermine and put at risk our economic recovery or damage opportunities for children and young people.

So that we can have an open and honest debate about these issues I hope that you will be in a position to respond to the following points before Education Questions tomorrow:

1. Can you set out where the £670 million of cuts in 2010/11 will come from?

2. During the coalition talks between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, David Laws and Danny Alexander stated that they had agreed with the Conservative Party that funding for schools would be protected up to 2013, as set out under Labour’s plans, with additional funding for the pupil premium on top. Can you confirm that this commitment has now been dropped and that funding for schools will only be protected in 2010/11?

3. What estimates has your Department made of the costs of the ‘free schools’ policy, the hundreds of extra Academies you intend to create and the pupil premium, and what estimates have been made of where the additional funds for these policies can be found without cuts to the budgets of existing schools?

4. Is it correct that by agreeing to cuts of £670m in 2010-11 – and not the £1.7 billion in savings that the Institute for Fiscal Studies said in the General election campaign would be your Department’s equal share of the £6bn overall cuts – you have increased the burden of cuts in 2010-11 that will fall on services financed by local government expenditure, particularly children’s social services, as part of the overall £1.2bn of cuts that local government has been told to find this year?

5. Can you confirm that the £311 million cut from your Department’s funding for local authorities is on top of the cuts in the Communities and Local Government department and represents more than 10 per cent of the total grant allocated by your Department to local authorities?

6. Can you set out the details of where these £311 million of cuts will be made, and in particular can you provide assurances that they will not affect essential services and programmes for some of our most vulnerable children and young people, for example:

(i) Programmes such as the Children’s Fund designed to tackle social exclusion of children and young people;

(ii) Funding designed to provide positive activities for young people to stop them hanging around the streets or falling into trouble;

(iii) Funding to protect the welfare and improve the life chances of children in care;

(iv) Programmes designed to cut rates of teenage pregnancy; and

(v) Programmes such as the Connexions Service designed to help young people leaving school to find suitable employment, education or training.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly

Yours sincerely,

Ed Balls MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Children and Education

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2 Responses to “Taking the fight to the Tories”

  1. Frank says:

    The silly sods haven’t recovered enough to start licking their wounds yet, never mind fight.

  2. paul dowson says:

    We haven’t took the fight to the tories since the iraq war. We didn’t carry on reforming or even come up with any new policies. We just stood still.

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