Balancing the Books v Social Conscience

Impact of cuts will be on the vulnerable

National Debt – Financial Management v Social Conscience

Just for the avoidance of any doubt to those who continue to blame everything on the inherited financial position the Government found in May 2010, or on the worldwide recession and economic situation, or the public service pensions or the banks, or even if they want the man in the moon I ‘m sure I’m not the only person in Northampton who say STOP.

We know that, we’ve heard it all before, constantly, now is the time to move on.

Of course paying £120 million a day in interest rates is a major problem as is the racking up of a £122 billion Government deficit in the last 12 months, and especially when you consider that the deficit is an ‘in year’ deficit against the national budget forecast which then becomes £122 billion of debt to add to the already £986 billion of debt.

Has the talk of ‘billions’ made you lose the will to live yet?

Let’s put it in perspective?

Even with the cuts to services and tightening of the national economic belt, (“the we’re all in this together philosophy”) the national debt is increasing by £13.4 million a day or put another way just over £550,000 an hour.

It is a straight forward fact that even with the current austerity measures which affect every single person in the country the interest on the nations debt has risen to £133.4 million a day, and yet we are constantly being told the policy is working.

Interestingly an increasing number of back bench Conservative MP’s are now calling for a change to the Governments economic strategy and policies.

The purpose of local government and elected councillors is to be accountable for decisions taken locally and the excuse of blaming Government or someone else is wearing a bit thin, especially to those who are seeing their front line essential services cut while senior management costs are increasing as is happening at the Northamptonshire County Council.

If  the debacle over the sale and development of the school sites and the PFI which has made the use of the school playing field prohibitively expensive to local youth clubs and organisations, the failure to repair the roads and footpaths, the increasing cost of  senior management , the failure until recently to support the town centre by holding up the development of the bus station which in turn contributed to the delay of the Grosvenor Centre development, the library closure issue, et al isn’t evidence enough of putting self-interest before that of the community it is the other cuts which are even more concerning.

Cuts to services such as care homes, mental health support, supplementary schools, domestic violence support services and services to the elderly are apparently open for consultation, which is all well and good if it is consultation in its true sense.

The trouble of course it isn’t, and no better example is that around the issue of the switching off of street lights which has brought a real feeling of fear and isolation to many across the town. It was a decision taken to save £2 million, which has now been spun into “the new better and brighter lighting will be in place in 4 years”.

True consultation would have told the County Council leadership to put the new lights in place before removing the old street lighting.

What the Conservative County Council are relying on is that the people and electorate of Northampton will forget about the major cuts in front line services and return what is increasingly becoming seen as an incompetent, inept and flawed administration after 8 years in charge.

No-one in any party is in any doubt that fiscal management is essential to ensure the long-term benefit of everyone who live and work in Northampton, but what appears to have been forgotten is that in balancing the books the social impact has also to be a priority.

Sadly we are increasingly seeing decisions being taken for the benefit of the elected, not the electors and the damage being wreaked against the people of Northampton may be irreversible if it is allowed to continue unchecked which is why the public should reject the budget proposals being put forward by their elected councillors.