The Pontificating of Eric Pickles MP

The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, is continually interfering and criticising local decisions. Most of his criticisms have been reserved for Labour councils, stating for example that they don't need to make cuts to frontline services if only they would cut a few more senior staff.  No one outside his Whitehall department still believes this. Even his own party's councillors are telling him that cuts to frontline services are essential due to his funding decisions.  Most London councils have worked hard to find back office cuts, but still had to make painful cuts to frontline services. There may come a time when back office services have been cut so drastically that there is no one left to run anything.  

In a break from his usual script of claiming councils are responsible for the banking crisis, Eric Pickles recently made another astonishing claim - that Labour councils across the UK were deliberately making bigger and more damaging cuts to front-line services in order to make the Tory government look bad. 

Brent council leader, Cllr Ann John, has 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. 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."