Blackburn Labour Party exists to promote the values of the Labour Party in the Blackburn Constituency and to engage in campaigns aimed at informing the general public about our beliefs and ideas. We support our Council candidates in seeking election. Blackburn currently has 32 Labour Councillors out of a total of 36 Councillors in the town. The other 4 are Conservative. We always stand candidates in every ward as we believe that every resident in Blackburn should have a genuine political choice.
Since 2010, firstly the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition and then the Tory governments of David Cameron and Theresa May have carried out a policy of austerity. This has meant that there have been huge cuts to local government spending – Blackburn with Darwen Council, for example, has lost around £148m in government grants since 2010 (approx. 48% of spending power) and is one of the worst affected in the country. The cuts have fallen much more heavily on councils in the North of England than in the South – this is not very surprising because there are far more Tory seats in the South than the North so this policy can be seen as a way of rewarding those areas that vote Tory. It does, however, mean that more prosperous areas in the South of England get richer whilst less prosperous areas in the North of the country become poorer – not very fair!
The Tories have justified the policy of austerity by pointing at the financial crisis of 2008 and the need for savings to be made to balance the national economy but, as everyone accepts, the financial crisis was caused by the irresponsible lending and borrowing policies by the world’s major banks and not by anything that was done by the citizens of Blackburn. There is, of course, another reason for austerity and that is a desire by the Tories to ” shrink the state “ or, in plain language, to make cuts in benefit payments so that they can afford tax cuts for the rich. Austerity, in truth, is a policy choice not an economic necessity.
The consequences of these savage cuts to council spending is that Blackburn with Darwen Council can no longer afford to provide many of the services that the electors want from the council and this affects the less well-off who are more dependent on council services than the more well-off members of society. The cuts are affecting many aspects of society that have previously been taken for granted – policing, education, disability services, provision of services for those people with mental health problems – and until the policy of austerity is changed, the situation will only get worse and the impact on the less well-off and poorer members of society will grow.