I share Councillor Slaughter's concern about the possible impact on Bexley of proposed changes in the way government allocates money to local councils and I am arranging a cross-party deputation to the Minister. But Councillor Slaughter does not help Bexley's case by statements about the way Bexley has been treated in the past.

The Tory Council continues to perpetuate the myth that Bexley lost grant last year and this is repeated in the News Shopper (October 31 “Last year Bexley Council lost £1.2m”). The fact is that last year Bexley had one of the biggest increases in grant. I agree that Bexley appears to have been treated less favourably than other Boroughs in previous years, which is why my colleague Nigel Beard and I made direct representations on Bexley's behalf, resulting in a much larger increase for Bexley than neighbouring boroughs.

It is blatantly untrue to say that Bexley lost grant last year when it had one of the largest increases in the country. Last year, no council received less than a 3.2% increase and none received more than 6.5%.

Bexley's general grant went up by the maximum 6.5% from £145.5million to £154.9million - an increase of £9.4million. In addition, there were ring-fenced grants for education and social services which in Bexley's case rose from £7.5million to £10.8million, a staggering 43% increase.

Councillor Slaughter conveniently forgets what happened under the previous conservative government. Bexley residents should know that in the first four years of the Labour Government, local government grant went up by 14% in real terms. This compares with a 7% cut in the last 4 years of the previous conservative government.

I hope that all parties locally will work together for a better deal for our local community but if we are to work together we need some honesty from the tories.

John Austin MP