Government minister Eric Pickles criticises Brent Council’s spending cuts

Cllr Ann John, Brent Council’s leader, hit back accusing the Secretary of State for Local Government of being against local government

A political row has erupted between the Secretary of State for Local Government and the leader of Brent Council over cuts to public spending.

In a stinging attack on the council, which last night (28) voted through �42million worth of cuts to libraries, Sure Start and a host of other services, the Conservative minister labelled the authority ‘tragic’.

Answering an invitation put forward by Harrow East MP Bob Blackman to criticise Brent Council and its austerity budget, Mr Pickles said: “What a tragic council that is.

“All it needs to do is take a short ride on the tube to see adjoining authorities in London that are protecting libraries, expanding their services and protecting the front line. No doubt it will get its come-uppance.”


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But Cllr Ann John (Lab: Stonebridge), Brent Council’s leader, hit back at the minister, who she accused of hiding behind a smokescreen of empty talk.

She said: “These times are extraordinary also for the behaviour of local government ministers. Ministers who have spent more time attacking councils than helping us deal with the enormous cuts they want to impose.

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“Government ministers who want to hide their programme behind a smokescreen of empty talk about waste, while the Prime Minister acknowledges that councils are the most efficient part of the public sector.

“In Mr Pickles we have the first Secretary of State ever against local government.”

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