Ed Miliband made a speech about the deficit today, setting out his plans for balancing the books if he makes it into government. His key announcement was the result of the party’s zero-based review, a study by his shadow Treasury team into every single pound spent by the government. The third interim report from the review finds that Labour can make £500m in annual efficiency savings in the Communities and Local Government budget.
In his speech, Ed Miliband said:
Labour councils all round the country have shown even in very tough times that they can still improve services.
And today the report of our zero-based review into local government is showing how we can make further savings of £500 million.
Having worked on this report, Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, and Hilary Benn, shadow Communities and Local Government secretary, outline Labour’s plans:
To save over £500m a year from 2016/17 through shared services, back-office collaboration, and streamlining, to better protect the frontline.
To end the complex, regressive and ineffective New Homes Bonus, with the funding reallocated more fairly within local government.
To consider proposals to merge some of the 46 Fire and Rescue Authorities in England, making savings of between £62.7m and £83.6m a year, in order to better protect frontline firefighters and appliances.
- To save £100m from the £320m Transformation Challenge Award 2014-16, in which small authorities have been forced to bid for central government approval for outsourcing projects rather than focussing on collaborating with neighbouring councils.