Osborne says Conservatives have “much to learn” from Tory town halls

George Osborne pledges a Conservative government would emulate the policies being implemented by Tory councils

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne played follow the leader with a speech today in which he pledged widescale cuts to the operation of government, emulating what he describes as the “innovative new policies” of Tory councils throughout Whitehall.

Addressing the Conservative Councillors’ Seminar he said:

“While we develop our policies for improving public services in an age of austerity, local councils have got on with doing it. When it comes to rooting out waste and cutting costs, or improving services through innovative new policies, Conservative councils are showing us that it can be done.

“In short, Conservative Whitehall will have much to learn from Conservative town halls.”

Examples of Conservative local government cuts include Barnet’s announcement in August that it plans to emulate Ryanair’s ‘no frills’ business model, with some services reduced to what council leader Mike Freer calls a “cheap and cheerful” level. Householders would pay extra to jump the queue for planning consents and private sector organisations could take on contracts for parking, the environment, residential care, housing, refuse and recycling.

And in July, Tory-run Hammersmith and Fulham announced plans to demolish 3,500 council homes on estates declared “not decent neighbourhoods” by leader Stephen Greenhalgh – head of David Cameron’s Conservative Councils Innovation Unit. The policy was described by opponents as a “dishonest and destructive socio-political experiment.”

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