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ELECTIONS 2004: 'WARMED OVER THATCHERISM IS NOT THE ANSWER' SAYS BEECHAM

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Responding to the Tory election campaign launch* yesterday, LGA Labour group leader Jeremy Beecham said: ...
Responding to the Tory election campaign launch* yesterday, LGA Labour group leader Jeremy Beecham said:

'The Tory local election manifesto mixes crude (and sometimes dangerous) populism - remove road humps and speed cameras - with studied silence over the big issues, like their plans for multi-billion pound cuts in local services.

'Michael Howard, who introduced the poll tax and was a leading member of a Tory government which capped every council, and cut grants for local services, accuses Labour of 'strangling local government'. His own local government record and his cuts agenda makes the Boston Strangler look like Mother Theresa.

'Interestingly the Tories want to 'scale back the Standards Board'. This from the party which has yet to utter a word of condemnation of Dame Shirley Porter, or the recently jailed Tory Leader of Lincolnshire County Council.

'After seven years in opposition the Tories have nothing to say about reforming the council tax, about the balance of funding, or about meeting housing need. Their proposals on education are unworkable, and on policing uncosted and by imposing directly elected police boards would weaken the essential links to local government.

'Warmed over Thatcherism is no answer to the problems of local communities. Only Labour councils, working with a Labour government can deliver the investment needed in our vital local services and promote genuine social justice and community involvement.'

* Conservative local elections launch

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