The Government’s latest £12.5m cut in Darlington Council’s budget will be debated in the House of Commons if Jenny Chapman gets her way.
The town’s MP told the Northern Echo she would use all avenues to fight the cuts, which could mean closure of the covered markets and libraries at Crown Street and Cockerton Libraries. More than 200 jobs could go and a host of council services.
Jenny has been working with Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson to get the cuts onto the Westminster agenda. She will table an Early Day Motion on Monday.
She said: “This affects every constituency in the North-East; this isn’t just a matter for Darlington. Darlington has been the first to release detailed budget announcements but other councils will be doing the same in the coming weeks and months.
“As far as parliamentary processes go, I can table an Early Day Motion on Monday as the House rises and I know that I will get support from all the Labour colleagues in the North.”
Meanwhile, a petition launched by The Northern Echo to protect Darlington from the crippling cuts looks to be heading towards 10,000 signatures which would mean it has to be acknowledged by the Government.
Jenny said: “The idea behind the petition is that we use that to look for a debate on the floor of the House to discuss Darlington and challenge the government’s way of funding local authorities.
“But there are other mechanisms we can use for a debate to challenge the funding for the North more generally, so we will use every avenue open to us to try to persuade the government to look again at the settlement for Darlington.”
Phil Wilson said Darlington Borough Council was “brave” in demonstrating how badly the Government's funding cuts were affecting services, adding that North-East MPs would “stand together” in challenging the Government.
He said he believed the cuts were “ideological instead of economically necessary”.
The reductions imposed by the Government to Darlington Borough Council’s budget since 2010 means it will have lost £44m in funding by 2020 -- almost half its cash.
You can sign the Echo petition here