Remember what led to recession

SIR – I would like to respond to the Grants Shapps column featured in your pages last week.

Mr Shapps repeats the party line that the recent recession was all Labour’s fault; that it is right for the Conservatives to make sweeping cuts across public services in an attempt to cut the deficit, in an almost fanatical obsession.

The opposition to this line is, of course, that you don’t improve an economy by making people redundant, that you don’t “protect the most vulnerable” by denying them the services they’ve already paid for.

The last time Britain faced a deficit of this nature, the National Health Service was born.

The Tory approach to recession, however, is to allow the country to collapse while standing by securing their own fortunes.

Of course you can hardly expect a politician not to spin facts to their advantage, and it’s fair to suggest that all parties do this.

It is clear though that Mr Shapps isn’t aware of how this global financial crisis began, with the subprime mortgage scandal in America; people taking out mortgages they could ill-afford just to place a roof over their head, in a country with very little social housing provision – almost none of it adequate.

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Clearly Mr Shapps doesn’t appreciate this because, today, I read of his intent to make sweeping attacks on council housing in the UK and to remove the right to lifetime tenancy.

We’ve seen it before, how they prep public opinion ahead of these decisions, the cobbled together cost to “each of us” per tenant, the explanation that it will somehow help people get housed, and the wrongful, dangerous assertion that social housing is purely for the poor.

This will fracture communities, heap further financial burden on people, and ensure that risky mortgages are taken out, or that private landlords will profit further from the misery of those who are denied secure tenancies.

How on earth a stable economy or society can be built on foundations such as these is unclear.

And didn’t Mr Shapps say about this only weeks ago: “We have no policy to change the current or future security of tenure of tenants in social housing.” ?

Mr Shapps then bizarrely turns his ire on the Labour councillors and says that we are negative.

We will not take lessons in negativity from the party that has spent the last few years claiming Britain is “broken” and then had to resort to misrepresenting skewed crime figures in an attempt to prove this. With a Conservative led government, county and local council, there is no more hiding place for the Tories.

Where Conservative policy is wrong, it is entirely correct and the role of the opposition to say so.

When the Conservatives make the wrong decisions, be it incinerators sited next to special needs facilities, failed town centre redevelopments or the systematic punishment of the average citizen through savage and excessive cuts, it is our duty to highlight this to the electorate for them to decide.

In my view, Mr Shapps should worry less about what five Labour councillors get up to and more about what he and his colleagues at all levels of government are doing to British society.

Election promises were made ranging from Hatfield Town Centre to the QE2.

Time to deliver and stop looking for someone else to blame.

Kieran Thorpe,

Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party.