Lib Dem criticises Tory ministers

Grant Shapps (left) and Eric PicklesRichard Kemp said the behaviour of the two ministers was a “disgrace”
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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Housing Minister Grant Shapps have been accused of behaving “like Laurel and Hardy” by a senior Liberal Democrat.

Richard Kemp, leader of the Lib Dems in local government, wrote to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying he felt they had not faced up to the effect of cuts.

Mr Kemp is a councillor in Liverpool, a city which will see an 8.9% reduction in spending power next year.

Mr Shapps said savings made had saved some front-line jobs in Liverpool.

In his letter, Mr Kemp urged Mr Clegg to “rein in” Mr Pickles because his “behaviour is a disgrace”.

And he accused the two ministers of failing to acknowledge the effect government cuts will have on jobs and services.

Mr Kemp said the men “continually put forward the idea that all the savings at this massively high level can be made by increased efficiency, cuts in a small number of salaries, raiding reserves that are not needed”.

“In fact almost every day we get from them a new gimmick,” he wrote.

“Their behaviour is a disgrace. Either they really do not know how serious the situation is that they have created… or they are deliberately trying to distract attention from the problems that they have created.”

However, Mr Shapps said Liverpool has already cut 48 posts saving more than £4m.

In a statement the housing minister said: “I don’t think even Richard Kemp could deny this move will protect plenty of front line staff.”

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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