Diana Johnson MP
House of Commons
COUNCILLOR GARY WAREING
Alfred Gelder Street
Tel No 01482 613583
Fax No 01482 613046
Our Ref: GW/
13th September 2013
I am in response to your letter to Steve Brady copied to Labour Councillors regarding the leisure facilities at Ennerdale.
In your letter you state
We write to express our opposition to the proposal, currently being consulted on, to close the swimming pool at Ennerdale Leisure Centre.
I fully agree with you opposition to the proposed closure but who is supporting the closure.
We fully acknowledge that this option is only being forced on Labour councillors by the unfair and disproportionately heavy funding cuts being imposed on Hull City Council by the Lib Dem-backed Coalition Government.
What are you going to do about it is the question; mere support doesn’t answer the question. What will a Labour Government do, will a Labour government restore the funding?
As you know, each person in Hull, the country’s tenth most deprived area, will lose £228.36 between 2010 and 2015 in funding to Hull – equating to £90m coming out of the Council’s budget. Meanwhile, Surrey Heath, the 324th most deprived area, loses only £24.54 per head over the same period.
This is why we launched the Fair Deal for Hull campaign earlier this year on the issue of the distribution of local government funding from Whitehall. This campaign is opposed by Lib Dem Opposition Group in Hull. This is not surprising, given that without Lib Dem support for the Tories in the Coalition such unjust treatment of Hull would not have been possible in the first place.
Whilst I fully the support the sentiment behind the Fair Deal for Hull petition, there is little evidence of a campaign. And again the real question is what will the next Labour government do? If £90 Million is taken from Hull will an incoming Labour government return the money to Hull City Council?
For our part, we voted against these cuts to Hull in Parliament and we will continue to promote the Fair Deal for Hull at every opportunity. As part of this campaign we also support the campaign by users of Ennerdale to save their swimming pool.
“For our part we voted against these cuts to Hull in Parliament” well excuse me but BIG DEAL. It’s very easy to be against cuts when you are in opposition when quite frankly your vote didn’t account for much. That is exactly what the Lib Dems are doing now in Hull in opposition.
The cost savings by Hull City Council including Ennerdale are the result of the council budget passed in February, a budget you supported as for my part I did vote against the cuts to Hull in February.
We hope that you will also work with users of Ennerdale to explore every possible idea and option that would keep this pool open for Hull residents.
Sounds remarkably like David Cameron’s big society; you can have services as long as you provide them yourself.
There are a series of reasons why Ennerdale should be the last pool that should be considered for closure in Hull – not the first.
Well quite frankly I don’t want to see any of the facilities in the city close. But what you are actually saying here is “not in my backyard”. It’s not ok for other facilities to close so that this one can stay open.
For our part, we will do everything possible to get a Fair Deal for Hull. Part of this means working imaginatively to secure a future for important facilities serving the whole city, such as Ennerdale.
Austerity simply means “make the people pay”, make the people pay with lost jobs, lower wages, zero hours contracts, reduced rights at work, reduced benefits, later pensions, lower living standards and cuts to services like Ennerdale. The Labour Party and its representatives should not be part of implementing the Coalition government’s austerity plans.
Labour councillors are being put on the spot. If we “ do the Tories job for them” as one Labour councillor put it, it will Labour councillors who take the blame. We were not elected to implement austerity. We were not elected to be the local agents of the coalition. Many of us campaign against the cuts imposed by Minns and the Liberal Democrat administration. We should not give in to the blackmail of Eric Pickles and the threats of taking over the council.
Labour Councillors face a real dilemma.
What is required from Labour leaders in the city is a real campaign for a fair deal for Hull. A joint campaign of the Labour MPs, Councillors, party members, Trade Unions and most importantly the residents of the city and users of the services like the swimming pools.
In the best traditions of the Labour movement a united campaigns to defend all services and all facilities.
We should not be discussing the order that services or facilities close.
What is required is a Peoples Assembly type event in Hull bringing together the labour movement, councillors, ward parties, trade unions and the community groups in the city.
This forum could then decided the best way forward for a Labour Council in opposing the Coalition governments Austerity.
COUNCILLOR GARY WAREING