Dewsbury’s MP has exposed government claims about Kirklees Council reserves to be untrue.
The Chancellor Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Letwin, stated in a Westminster debate that Kirklees Council had “£200 million pounds in useable and unused reserves”.
The Examiner reported this week that the council has already used most of its reserves with funds set to run dry in 2017.
A budget meeting on Tuesday will discuss how to plug an £84m gap in funding over the next five years, following huge cuts from the government.
But Mr Letwin claimed funding problems for the council were “not real ones”.
Paula Sherriff MP has now called for some kind of recourse for Mr Letwin misleading the House.
At Cabinet Office questions she said: “I have now had it confirmed, not just by officers of the local authority, that their unused reserves are nowhere remotely close to this, and even including reserves that are already allocated and not useable the figure is nowhere near £200m. “
Speaking afterwards, she added: “It’s an absolute disgrace at a time when local authorities, predominantly in the north, are being stripped to the bone of funding, that Ministers should make misleading remarks.
“Social care in this country is in crisis and it just goes to show what a terrifying situation we are in when Government Ministers are picking random figures out of the sky, trying to pin the blame on local authorities for not spending money they don’t have.
“It’s time they came and saw first-hand the effects their cuts have on people’s lives in areas like Kirklees, and stop trying to pass the buck in such an incompetent appalling manner to try and mask their failure.“