A fair deal for Peter­bor­ough, please

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - PAULSTAINTON - For­mer BBC Ra­dio Cam­bridgeshire host

Some­times you just have to say enough is enough. I am not talk­ing about X Fac­tor or Strictly Come Danc­ing (al­though to be fair both could do with the chop), no, I am talk­ing about aus­ter­ity.

The cuts, the pain, the un­fair­ness of it all, must end, peo­ple just can­not en­dure any more of it and what’s more it hasn’t worked.

Debt ra­tios are still at wartime lev­els, whilst quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing (print­ing money for bankers) has only helped im­prove the bank’s profit margins.

Now be­fore I am ac­cused of ‘do­ing a Dar­ren Fower’ and be­com­ing a fully paid up mem­ber of the Cor­bynistas, let me as­sure you that I was all for the big bank bail-out – I could see the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for it and fully un­der­stood that things would be dif­fi­cult for us all for a few years.

Ex­cept it hasn’t been dif­fi­cult for us all, far from it, the ma­jor­ity have en­dured the pain whilst bankers, fi­nanciers and most of the peo­ple who helped cause the cri­sis, have just got richer.

In hind­sight, we would have all been bet­ter off if the banks had been al­lowed to fail, that’s what Ice­land did and they are do­ing just fine, thank you very much.

We were all pre­pared to do our bit and en­dure lower wages, re­duced ser­vices and a poorer stan­dard of liv­ing but look at the ef­fect that al­most 10 years of that medicine has had on a city like Peter­bor­ough?

Peo­ple have been pushed to food­banks, those on ze­ro­hours con­tracts are used and abused, changes to ben­e­fits have left those with lit­tle, with even less and home­less­ness is on the rise; this is not the sort of so­ci­ety I want to live in, we must fight for fair­ness for all.

What’s more, we haven’t had the worst of it; else­where li­braries have closed, leisure cen­tres have dis­ap­peared and ser­vices that peo­ple rely on are no more. Some­how the coun­cil here has man­aged to keep es­sen­tial ser­vices go­ing, de­spite an 80% cut in their govern­ment grant.

But even John Holditch, the Con­ser­va­tive leader of the coun­cil, has now had enough and has called on his own govern­ment to loosen the purse strings, claim­ing that any more cuts would only hurt those who are al­ready suf­fer­ing the most pain.

It can­not be right that Lon­don bor­oughs re­ceive an ex­tra £160 per per­son in fund­ing when you con­sider the pres­sures that this city is un­der from im­mi­gra­tion, in­creased birth rates and the de­mands from an in­creas­ingly age­ing pop­u­la­tion.

We pay our coun­cil tax like ev­ery­one else and have a right to ex­pect a cer­tain level of ser­vice, a right to de­mand equal­ity, a right to de­mand a fair deal.

Any fur­ther cuts to lo­cal govern­ment fund­ing will re­sult in es­sen­tial ser­vices be­ing slashed – schemes for the young and the old will be un­der­mined, bins will go un­emp­tied, pot­holes un­filled and you will have to buy your own books, as li­braries could go the way of Wool­worths.

Now is time for ev­ery­one who cares about Peter­bor­ough to prove it – put up or push off.

From the new metro Mayor, to the new MP, whether you are young or old, blue, red or yel­low, we must stand to­gether and make our voice heard.

We must tell those in Down­ing Street that we won’t stand idly by and let our city be dis­man­tled any fur­ther and that we will protest when you tar­get the most vul­ner­a­ble in our so­ci­ety.

It’s time for a ‘Fair Deal for Peter­bor­ough’ - For the many and not just the few.

That is a cam­paign I can get right be­hind.

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