PM ‘out of touch’ says council leader

Labour leader Ed Milliband in Ilkeston. Derbyshire Labour group leader Anne Western.
Labour leader Ed Milliband in Ilkeston. Derbyshire Labour group leader Anne Western.

Council leader Anne Western blasted David Cameron as ‘out of touch with reality’ after the Prime Minister accused the Derbyshire authority of playing the ‘blame game’.

Mr Cameron made the comments on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show when a copy of the ‘Tiser’s sister paper the Derbyshire Times was brandished in front of him.

Prime Minister David Cameron prepares his speech for his keynote address to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 1, 2013. See PA TORY stories. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime Minister David Cameron prepares his speech for his keynote address to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 1, 2013. See PA TORY stories. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The front page headline screamed ‘Devastating’ and chief executive Ian Stephenson was quoted saying, “We’ve known nothing like this since the Great Depression.”

Derbyshire County Council is facing unprecedented cuts with 1,600 jobs look set to go and facilities lost.

Mr Cameron told the show: “There’s a danger they are trying to play the blame game,”

“When you look at the cuts and the additional cuts they are being asked to make, they are relatively modest and can be done.”

“I praise local councils for what they have done so far to make efficiencies without hitting front-line services. They can go on doing that,” he added.

Last week the council approved a raft of cuts to its services in a bid to meet a Government shortfall of £157m over the next five years.

Cllr Western said the government was putting the authority in an ‘impossible situation’.

She added this week: “David Cameron is a man out of touch with the realities facing local government.

“Perhaps he is not aware of the extra cuts imposed on us over the summer by the Department for Communities and Local Government?

“From being told that our main grant for local services for 2015/16 was going to be cut by 10 per cent we were told that it is to be cut by 27 per cent.”