Sunday, 30 November 2014

Cross party letter on council cuts a beginning but we must challenge austerity

Following my posts on this blog about the budget crisis faced by local councils, including Brent and Brighton, it is good to see this cross-party letter in the Observer today signed by leaders of many local councils as well as the Chair of the Local Government Association LINK

Of course a letter on its own won't solve the problem and it is not just a matter of more control of funding but also the total amount. Austerity, which led to the cuts, is supported by the main political parties represented in this letter.

Local anti cuts campaigns, trades councils and trade unions, tenants associations and other citizen groups need to step up their campaigning against what amounts to the destruction of local services under the cover of austerity.

The Observer Letter 
Funding for services provided by councils has borne the brunt of austerity while demand continues to rise. When the chancellor delivers his autumn statement this Wednesday, “more of the same” cannot be an option.

After a 40% reduction in funding during this parliament, our efficiency savings are coming to an end. Further reductions without radical reform will have a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life and will lead to vital services being scaled back or lost altogether. Services such as libraries, leisure centres and road maintenance continue to buckle under the strain of cuts and the ever-rising cost of caring for our growing elderly population. Failure to address this will not only jeopardise other services, but will pass costs on to the NHS, which will have to pick up the pieces if we cannot protect adult social care or provide the services that keep people healthy.

Last week, the Smith commission set out a better deal for Scotland, granting more control over funding and recognising the importance of devolving power down beyond Holyrood. It’s England’s turn now.

There is compelling evidence that taking decisions closer to the people affected achieves better results and saves money. It is vital that the autumn statement sets out a new settlement for England, which puts powers beyond Westminster, and shares out tax and spending across the UK on a fair basis. The people we represent, who look north of the border with envy at the greater control Scots are to get over their everyday lives, will expect nothing less.

1 comment:

Trevor said...

Hi Martin,
I'm writing because I want to draw your attention to a incident which occurred 13 days ago (Christmas Eve actually)
basically Horse dung was left on the Junction of ken way in wembley park,
opposite the small police station and petrol station.
Now I'm accustomed to seeing litter strewn hither and thither in wembley park
but Horse dung Left for 13 days which has been driven over and now that it is raining
the dung is starting to dissolve.
Now your post Is based upon the negative effects of austerity cuts,
but horse excrement That has been left by the horse owner
and overlooked by the council
suggests that no one cares?
and in this case even though disease can be spread
that too is overlooked.
but if I fail to pay the council tax
Brent council will not fail to remind me about my obligation to pay it.
but its fine to leave horse dung on a street for 13 days opposite a police station and supermarket.
I don't think I need to say anything more.