Every financial cloud…Posted: December 23, 2016
It’s been a long while since I’ve written a post but I feel compelled to speak out about the current situation our council is facing.
If our estimates are correct about the government’s agenda, between 2010 – 2020 we will have been forced to make over £100 million worth of cuts. That’s money taken away the local services we all love – our children’s centres, leisure facilities and street cleaning services amongst other things.
Having sat in budget meetings and agonised over the figures, I can honestly say that these decisions are some of the hardest we’ve had to make but unlike the NHS or the government, local councils cannot legally pass an unbalanced budget. If the books don’t add up, the government will quite simply send in a commissioner to take over the council and that alternative is far worse. Make no mistake about this Conservative government and the coalition which preceded it, they have intentionally drained council budgets, forcing local decision makers to impose cuts and increase taxes resulting in the suffering of residents.
Social care is a prime example. The elderly population is living longer and growing as a result. Instead of taking responsibility and building a comprehensive strategy, the government decided to decimate council budgets and give local authorities the opportunity to increase council tax for social care by 3%. Whilst this may appear to some like a solution, it ducks responsibility and passes the burden on to struggling local people.
Even in the face of such terrifying prospects, I want to speak about some of the ways I believe a Labour Council has made a difference. Here’s the top ten.
- Keeping the libraries open
- Working in partnership to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime
- Creating a housing company
- Free parking
- Securing funding for South Street
- Building a new swimming pool
- Ensuring children have enough school places
- Supporting the voluntary sector
- Signing UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter
- Building new houses
Have a great Christmas!