Cuts could see the end to ser­vices

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

HUGE spend­ing cuts pro­posed by the Con­ser­va­tives could see many coun­cil-run ser­vices dis­ap­pear within the next five years.

Coun­cil cuts in the south-east means women flee­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence be­ing turned away from refuges, a lack of street light­ing plung­ing com­mu­ni­ties into dark­ness and chil­dren’s cen­tres, li­braries, parks and po­lice sta­tions be­ing closed.

Less cash for lo­cal gov­ern­ment means peo­ple pay more for park­ing, so­cial care, births, deaths and mar­riages, as well as buri­als and cre­ma­tions.

The Prime Min­is­ter has said that only £1 in ev­ery £100 of gov­ern­ment spend­ing would be cut in the first two years – but this claim sim­ply does not stand up to scru­tiny.

Fig­ures from the last Bud­get show that £26.6bn is set to be cut – £6.53 in each £100 spent this year, then a fur­ther £5.57 next year.

Only last week coun­cils were told they are to lose £7.18 out of ev­ery £100 they re­ceive in public health grants.

If the gov­ern­ment has its way, lo­cal ser­vices that coun­cils are not legally obliged to pro­vide will start to dis­ap­pear.

Pest con­trol, mu­se­ums, al­lot­ments, youth ser­vices and sports cen­tres could be­come things of the past, while coun­cils will find it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to pro­vide statu­tory ser­vices such as so­cial care and child pro­tec­tion.

It’s time to give lo­cal coun­cils respite from the aus­ter­ity axe. MAGGIE FERNCOMBE Re­gional Sec­re­tary UNI­SON South East

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