Where buck stops with spend­ing cuts...

Rossendale Free Press - - The Rossendale Scribbler -

IT’S a strange ex­pe­ri­ence to see a col­umn writ­ten months ago be­ing re­played – as was the case when Rossendale MP Jake Berry cel­e­brated the re-open­ing of Helmshore Tex­tile Mu­seum the other week.

He wrote: “Back in Fe­bru­ary, the Scrib­bler com­mented on how Helmshore Tex­tile Mu­seum was ‘a sad sym­bol of sav­age spend­ing cuts.’ I couldn’t agree more. The fact this in­ter­na­tion­ally im­por­tant piece of his­tory was closed down was noth­ing to do with spend­ing cuts, but the way Lan­cashire county coun­cil was be­ing run by Labour.’

Of course, Mr Berry wrote this with the knowl­edge the mu­seum has now partly re-opened, for the next two years.

That’s ob­vi­ously good news, but this idea that the Tories are some­how run­ning LCC more ef­fi­ciently than Labour de­serves more scru­tiny.

It was the wrong call to close the mu­seum, as it was to shut li­braries, and it’s im­por­tant to note that the Tories have re­versed those de­ci­sions.

But in do­ing so, they’ve ef­fec­tively backed other spend­ing cuts pre­vi­ously pro­posed by Labour, in­clud­ing scrap­ping £500k of sup­port to Rossendale coun­cil for re­cy­cling col­lec­tions, which has re­sulted in the new brown bin charge for gar­den waste.

The Tories too have brought in cuts of their own – re­duc­ing fund­ing for po­lice com­mu­nity sup­port of­fi­cers, plan­ning to dou­ble the amount dis­abled peo­ple pay to travel by bus and ax­ing sup­port for youth crime pre­ven­tion.

In short, the Tories in charge at Lan­cashire are still hav­ing to cut ser­vices peo­ple value and rely on, they are just choos­ing dif­fer­ent ones.

Maybe that’s what democ­racy is about in 21st cen­tury Lan­cashire – you vote for the pro­posed cuts which least of­fend you.

But let’s not kid our­selves that cuts are be­ing caused by the way coun­cils are be­ing run, they’re be­ing caused by the sav­age cuts be­ing im­posed on coun­cils by par­lia­ment.

The buck stops there.

●● Helmshore Tex­tile Mu­seum’s re-open­ing

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