POLITICS
27/02/2018 21:55 GMT

Philip Hammond's Own Council Warns It Is Facing 'Cash Crisis'

'The government cannot stand idly by when Rome burns'

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Philip Hammond’s own local council has warned it is facing a cash crisis thanks to government cuts.

Cllr David Hodge, Conservative leader of Surrey Council - which includes the chancellor’s Runnymede and Weighbridge constituency - told a full council meeting earlier this month their government funding had been slashed by £200 million since 2010.

“We’re facing the most difficult financial crisis in our history,” a local news site reported.

“The government cannot stand idly by when Rome burns.”

The authority is reportedly facing a £105 million budget shortfall over the next 12 months and has been forced to hike council tax by nearly 6%.

Cllr Hodge claimed he secured a “gentleman’s agreement” for more government funding last year, after councillors considered an unprecedented 15% tax rise.

PA Wire/PA Images
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Hammond must “act now” to bring forward resources to help local authorities plug huge funding gaps.

“This is a major humiliation for Philip Hammond” he added.

“If the chancellor cannot convince one of his closest local political allies to trust his central economic policy, why should the rest of the country?

“The fact that his own local Tory council is calling on him to act shows not only how divided their party is, but also how their continued cuts are losing credibility among their closest allies.

“The chancellor is doing all he can to play down the importance of next month’s spring statement, to bury his head in the sand, and avoid taking the real action our economy needs.”

Hammond’s deputy, Liz Truss, accused Labour councils of “wasting money” during Treasury questions on Tuesday, but was swiftly rebuked by Speaker John Bercow.

“You answer for government policy, you don’t waste the time of the House by launching into rants about other parties,” he said.