Will warnings on council finances go unheeded?

Another week, another U-turn – this time, the botched A-level results saga. And a government that claims to be ‘levelling up’ has proved once again that this is just one more empty slogan to add to the pile.

This was an entirely foreseeable calamity. The disparity between the treatment of state and privately educated young people was obvious to anyone who looked at it, but also because it was predicted by the Commons’ Education Select Committee weeks ago. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP refused its request to publish the standardisation model to allow for proper scrutiny. And ignored its warning that the algorithm was oversimplified. 

Williamson’s incompetence derives from his brush-off of the voices of experts and select committees. 

Perhaps the Communities Secretary should take note of the Education Secretary’s experience, as he is similarly deaf to the grave warnings of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on the likelihood of councils’ financial collapse. 

“Coronavirus has pushed some councils beyond the edge”

Even before coronavirus hit, the committee warned that the Government had been “derelict in its duty” when it gutted funding to councils, leaving them barely enough to cover “bare bones” services. 

Coronavirus adds even more pressure and has pushed some councils beyond the edge. Robert Jenrick MP won’t be able to claim he wasn’t warned. 

There is still time for him to act, but not much. Let’s hope he chooses not to follow in Williamson’s footsteps by sleepwalking the Government into this foreseeable disaster too.



Riding roughshod over local communities

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