But this year they are not alone. They have the support of Lord Porter, he’s the chair of the Local Government Association. He’s also a Tory.
“Even if councils stop filling in potholes, maintaining parks, closed all children’s centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres and turned off every street light, they will not have saved enough money to plug the financial black hole they face by 2020.”
By way of a grim kind of answer, Osborne has said that he will now let councils keep 100% of the proceeds from the sale of any assets, to be used as they see fit. Ah, this coupled with the arrival of our impending new Chief Executive whose record in Brent is 'Making the most of our land and assets' might give some indication on the future of our parks, playing fields and open spaces not to mention such gems as Valentines Mansion.
This year we are faced with a further cut of £58 million over the next three years.
Well, to save you the trouble I have bash tested the process and got to the bottom line. I have ticked every money saving item to the max and every money generation item to the max to arrive at a profit of £21 million, which includes a 10% rise in council tax. This means that over two thirds of the options need to be taken. Now, apart from things like waste collection and roads most of the council services are designed specifically for children, the vulnerable, poor or those with special needs, so that’s where the cuts are coming. The complete list of the consequences is here.
We are talking about cuts to:
- Youth centres
- Provision for the elderly, including Freedom Passes
- Children with special educational needs
- Adults with mental health problems
- Support for victims of domestic abuse
- The planning service being taken over by the planning inspectorate
- Reduction in waste collection and street cleansing
- Closure of libraries
- Sale of land and assets
There are press reports of local communities raising funds to pay to replace the local Police whose numbers are being cut. Why don’t we just pay our taxes to provide the services we want and need? On Friday UK citizens contributed in excess of £200 million in VAT to the chancellor’s war chest, on ONE day. It’s not as though we haven’t got any money.
Sooner or later a local council somewhere will be forced to call out the chancellor and have a referendum, and then we will see what kind of place people "aspire" to live in.
UPDATE: More from our Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources here.