East Riding leader tells Eric Pickles: 'Stop making cheap swipes'
EAST Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby has called on Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to stop making "cheap swipes" at local authorities.
Mr Pickles has angered council leaders by repeatedly criticising the way town halls are run.
His attacks have ranged from issues surrounding fortnightly bin collections to authorities deciding to increase their council tax charges.
He also published a list of 50 money-saving tips for authorities on the day his department announced multi-million funding cuts for local councils.
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Several council leaders labelled the list patronising.
Speaking at his council's annual budget-setting meeting, Councillor Parnaby said: "I would make a plea to the Secretary of State at Communities and Local Government.
"If you want to see how it can be done, come and see us.
"We will give you a positive message and would hope that you would acknowledge the excellent achievement of this council and several other councils without resorting to cheap swipes and categorising all local government.
"We have been asked and challenged to deliver.
"We have done, we will do and can do without 50 useful tips."
Confirming a council tax freeze for the third year running, Cllr Parnaby said the East Riding was in a good position to cope with an expected £31.2m reduction in Government funding over the next four years, having already weathered a £16.1m cut in Whitehall funding since 2010.
"To accommodate this reduction, we will see our services delivered differently or from different locations but our aim is maintain services wherever possible, reasonable and practical.
"I suspect council leaders across the country will be telling tales of woe in budget speeches and how terrible the whole business is.
"Well, yes, it is tough. It's going to get tougher and my message is: get used to it and do something about it.
"Personally, I get fed up with hearing the same messages time and time again, spreading doom, gloom and despair.
"Yes, it's bad for us but people need to get a grip. If I get fed up of hearing this, I am convinced the public just get tired, confused and angry, too.
"I am sure they would say it's tough for them too when they face having to balance a household budget or a business budget."
Cllr Parnaby said "rigorous financial management and planning" at County Hall had ensured annual savings targets had been exceeded to help cushion the impact of funding cuts.
As a result, he said there would be no significant changes to frontline services and only a limited number of potential redundancies across the authority.
"We are all in this together and we will do our very best to secure services that our communities rightly deserve."