Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says Kirklees Council 'not fit for purpose'

Rishi Sunak told PMQs that residents 'deserve better'. Credit: PA

The prime minister has branded a cash-strapped West Yorkshire council "not fit for purpose" as it struggles to balance the books.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, Rishi Sunak said residents "deserve better" from Kirklees Council.

The Labour-run authority previously set out plans to cut spending to fill a £47 million black hole in its budget.

A public consultation is being held over proposals to shut several leisure centres and care homes and to implement parking charges in certain areas.

A council meeting will be held on Wednesday to discuss the budget.

Conservative MP for Dewsbury, Mark Eastwood, raised the issue during PMQs. He accused bosses of "punishing hard-working families and destroying the high street in our towns and villages".

Mr Sunak said he shared Mr Eastwood's disappointment, adding that the parking charges were "punishing local businesses and shoppers in the run up to Christmas".

The prime minister said: "The council is clearly no longer fit for purpose and local residents deserve better."

Mr Sunak's comments prompted an angry reaction from the council.

Referring to the prime minister's recent Cabinet reshuffle and the appointment of former prime minister David Cameron as foreign secretary, council leader Cathy Scott said: "With councils across the country facing a £4 billion black hole in their finances, NHS waiting lists at record highs and a prime minister who needs to raid the political graveyard just to find a foreign secretary, maybe Rishi Sunak needs to ask himself whether his government is fit for purpose.

"What a shame that Dewsbury’s Tory MP doesn’t use his privileged position in Parliament to do something useful for people in our area who desperately need help with the cost of living crisis and want the government to fund our public services properly."

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