Government ‘choking the life’ out of public services says Hartlepool MP Mike Hill

Mike Hill MP in the House of Commons.
Mike Hill MP in the House of Commons.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has accused the Government of ‘choking the life’ out of councils and local services in response to this year’s budget.

Mr Hill said pledges by Chancellor Philip Hammond to give extra cash to adult and social care will not be enough to end austerity while councils like Hartlepool have seen year after year of cuts.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said this week’s budget offered no money for further education or policing.

Mr Hill said children in Hartlepool lack vital support following the loss of the Sure Start pre-educational programme, despite the best efforts of the Hartlepool Borough Council and the NHS.

The council says that by 2020 its funding from central government will have reduced by 45%.
Mr Hill said: “Sadly, we have some of the most deprived wards in the country. We have in-work, third-generation household poverty.

“If it were not for food banks, charities and council interventions, especially during school holidays, many of our kids would go hungry.

“As for local government, the Chancellor has seemingly put extra funding into adult and children’s services and social care but, in all honesty, he continues to choke the life out of our councils and public services.

“This Budget does nothing to end austerity, and by promising jam tomorrow, the Chancellor only perpetuates it.

“There is no money for policing and no money for further education.

“My constituents are dogged, determined, and deserve a damn sight better.”

The Chancellor announced £650m of new social grant funding for 2019-20 in the budget.

He also announced plans to create a new mental health crisis service.

Mr Hill said he hoped it would see improved services for Hartlepool where there is currently no walk-in crisis centre.

He said crisis services in the area are over stretched adding he has heard reports that people are waiting for two hours or more to get help.

Mr Hill said: “Many of those people in crisis in Hartlepool are young people.

“I just hope that the money promised by the Chancellor for mental health services will help to provide better access to crisis services for my constituents.”

He also made reference to the £48.9 million outstanding repairs at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust describing it as a ‘ticking timebomb’.