Where buck stops with spending cuts...
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