Greg challenges Labour MP to vote for the right to know how public money is spent in Newcastle East

October 27, 2009 11:15 AM

Newcastle East Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman Greg Stone has called on the Newcastle East Labour MP to put Newcastle East ahead of party interest in a vote on Wednesday in the House of Commons.

The Opposition-led debate will call for the formal adoption of Local Spending Reports, requiring the annual publication of statements detailing how much public money is spent in a local authority area. There is cross-party support for the statements to include all public expenditure in an area including by national government bodies, but the Government wishes to restrict this only to local council , police, and fire service spending.

Greg said "I believe the public has an important right to know how much is being spent in a local authority area or by parliamentary constituency, so that they can have more confidence about whether value for money is being received, whether local needs are being sufficiently met, and whether the area is being short-changed in comparison with other areas under the Barnett Formula for public spending.

"Newcastle East's Labour MP has a bad record of voting for the interests of the Labour Government ahead of the interests of local people, as he showed last week when he voted against Lib Dem motions on Equitable Life compensation and the 10:10 climate change campaign. He has a chance to do the right thing on Wednesday - we will be watching closely to see whether he does."

Text of Early Day Motion 1064 (supported by Labour, Conservative, and Lib Dem MPs)

"That this House welcomes the provisions of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 requiring the publication of local spending reports; believes that people have a right to know how their money is spent by public bodies; especially welcomes the assurances given by the Minister for Local Government, the hon. Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth, that the local spending reports will include all public agencies; further welcomes the Minister's assurance that the purpose is to achieve a report that identifies how much will be spent in each area by the authorities; is therefore very alarmed that the consultation now issued on the local spending reports proposes only to include local authorities, including fire authorities and police authorities, and primary care trusts, and to exclude all other public bodies despite the assurances of the Minister; believes it to be unacceptable that this document is now in blatant contravention of the expressed assurances of the Minister; and calls for proper local spending reports to be published, which give effect to those assurances."