Coalition cuts are 'more painful than IRA atrocity', says city leader
Insensitive: Sir Richard Leese receiving his MBE in 1991
The leader of Manchester Council has sparked outrage by claiming Coalition cuts are more ‘painful’ than the IRA bomb that wrecked the city centre 15 years ago.
On the day the Daily Mail revealed he took home £55,400 in allowances last year, Labour’s Sir Richard Leese wrote an article comparing the cuts to Irish terrorism.
More than 200 people were injured in the IRA attack of 15 June 1996. Damage to the city was estimated at £700million.
Last month, Manchester Council unveiled plans to make hundreds of people redundant and close all but one of the city’s public lavatories.
It emerged yesterday that Labour councils are shedding 50 per cent more posts than those run by the Tories or Lib Dems – backing up claims by David Cameron that the redundancies were politically motivated.
Yesterday, writing for the Manchester Evening News, Sir Richard said: ‘Since I was first elected to the council almost 27 years ago, I have seen many difficult times . . . just weeks after becoming council leader in 1996, I had to deal with the aftermath of the IRA bomb.
‘But nothing has been as difficult or as painful as the struggle we have been having over the last two months to produce a legal, balanced budget.’
Horror: More than 200 were hurt in the 1996 Manchester bombing
Last night, Tory MP Stephen Hammond said: ‘These are surprising and disappointing comments.’
Charlotte Linacre, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘It’s a grievous insult to victims of IRA attacks.’
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