Barbara Keeley MP


Barbara's latest Salford Advertiser Column, 10th February 2011

BK MEN 2Across the country people are angry about the cuts David Cameron’s Government is forcing onto our communities. In Liverpool, the council has pulled out of the government’s Big Society project because of Cameron’s cuts to their communities.  The Government has cut £100 million of grants to Liverpool and cut the council’s budget by £141 million over two years.

The Conservative’s idea of the Big Society was never understood by most people and now it’s grinding to a halt. The basic idea is what Labour calls working with and supporting communities.

I value our local voluntary and community groups – from Salford Carers Centre to Salford Heart Care, from the Friends of Walkden Station to Fives Athletic Football Club. They all do a great job with the volunteers and staff they have but they all depend to some extent on what the council and central government can do to support them.

What matters to local groups and charities is things like what they are charged to rent a football ground or an office or what government investment is in trains and stations. For groups working in health and social care, it matters that they can work in partnership with our local Primary Care Trust.

This Conservative-led Government doesn’t understand that the work of our local charities and voluntary groups needs both funding and support from our council and our Primary Care Trust. Cutting council budgets and abolishing the Primary Care Trust must have an impact on the support for community and voluntary groups.

I fear that Cameron’s Cuts to our council and his plans to abolish our Primary Care Trust will damage what those organisations can do but also the work of the groups working with them. The Government must stop what it is doing before it damages our communities.

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