Tories and Lib Dems join Labour in condemning benefit cuts

A motion by Walsall Council Labour Group condemning cuts by the coalition government in the council tax and housing benefits has won the support of Conservative and Lib Dem councillors.

The amended motion passed unanimously at Monday night’s full council meeting, criticised the 10 per cent cut to OAPs, single parent families and the unemployed.

Walsall, like other town halls, will have to pass on the cuts or fund the difference from its own budgets which is already facing £13 million reduction.

The proposed cuts in council tax and housing benefits are accepted to amount to £3.3 million in Walsall and hit some 4,000 households.

Counsellor Sean Coughlan, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, said the fact that the motion won cross party support spoke volumes about the hardship the cuts would create.

“It is not often that politicians speak with one voice on contentious issues but everyone in the council can see the harm and misery that these cuts will create in areas like our own were we have high levels of unemployment and deprivation.

“These cuts will come into effect from April, just as the government gives enormous tax break to millionaires but working families on low incomes, pensioners and the unemployed will be faced with choices of either paying the rent or buying food.

Debating the motion, Liberal Democrat leader, Ian Shires, described the changes as ‘botched.’

Conservative Council Leader, Mike Bird, went further saying the government was forcing council’s to do their dirty work leaving families to choose ‘between paying the bills and feeding their kids.’

Cllr Coughlan added: “When the Coalition Government’s own supporters are describing their own parties’ polices in such terms, it’s time that Cameron and Clegg realised the destructive impact they are having on people’s lives

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