UK’s Cameron complains about austerity cuts which he ordered
British Prime Minister David Cameron faced claims of hypocrisy Thursday after he wrote to his local council complaining about cuts to services prompted by his own government’s austerity savings.
Cameron voiced disappointment that libraries, museums and day care centers for elderly people were being cut in Oxfordshire, the county west of London which includes his parliamentary seat of Witney.
His Centre-right Conservative government is pushing through deep cuts to public spending in a bid to reduce Britain’s large budget deficit.
The local government has reportedly agreed to cuts of eight percent a year for the next four years. This is expected to be confirmed by finance minister George Osborne in a spending review later this month.
“I was disappointed at the long list of suggestions floated in the briefing note to make significant cuts to frontline services,” Cameron wrote in a letter to the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth, made public by the Oxford Mail newspaper.
“I would have hoped that Oxfordshire would instead be following the best practice of Conservative councils from across the country in making back office savings and protecting the front line.”
Hudspeth, himself a Conservative, wrote back to highlight that back office functions had already been cut along with 37 percent of council jobs since 2010, while refuting some of Cameron’s claims.
“I cannot accept your description of a drop in funding of £72 million (100 million euros, $110 million) or 37 percent as a ‘slight fall’,” he added.
The Independent newspaper ran the story with the headline: “Not in my backyard” while Guardian columnist George Monbiot said Cameron’s letter showed “he takes no responsibility for his own policies.”