This is not a blog dealing with the international banking or economic crisis that the Government in spite of their constant denials has now been sucked, some may say suckered into involvement in the bailing out the World and European banking system that is threatening a massive depression the like of which very few people in the UK have ever seen.
It is about what the impact will be on local services and why the public need to understand the other options available to both the County and Borough Councils, and not be hoodwinked into believing they have to accept cuts in essential front line services as the only available option.
The confusion that government at all levels are happy to keep going is around the issue of what exactly the deficit is and what debt is and by having a continuing blame everyone distraction strategy they are relying on doing what is said to be impossible.
That is to ‘fool all of the people all of the time’.
So what is deficit and debt and what does it mean?
The fact is that the country’s national debt is increasing, which is all of the money we the tax payers have to pay back either today, or in the future to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. It is sometimes referred to as the money owed by the Government, except of course the Government like local councils don’t have any money, they only have the taxpayer’s money.
Simply put – your money – our money
The deficit is different from the debt in being the amount of money the Government borrows every year to fund its spending.
The biggest threat to the economy and therefore to services is that the deficit is falling far too slowly and because of this the level of debt is rising.
The debt last year was £137 billion, that is (137 thousand million pounds) and this year is going to be in the region of £127 billion so the debt will have gone up in the last two years by an extra total of £264 billion (or £ 904,000 an hour of additional debt).
Government projections are that total borrowing for the life of the coalition Government will be at least £640 billion which goes against the promise of balancing the books by 2015.
The problem is that the level of debt currently stands at £970billion and will rise to £1,515 billion by the year after the election, or in very simple terms every man, woman and child in the United Kingdom will wake up in the morning to a country that owes more than £23,000 for every single one of them.
The biggest impact of the debt is that local councils are receiving less taxpayers funding from central Government and will carry on seeing the funding reduce over the next 5 years under the coalition plans. It means of course that locally all cuts to services are blamed on, not necessarily in an order of importance or impact,
the banking system and bankers bonuses, the previous Government, the European and Euro crisis, Local Government waste, the public sector, the failure of the private sector to expand, the unions and the USA.
(PLEASE add in all of the other excuses that are being peddled and which are clearly contributing factors.)
What local councils have to decide is where the money they do have will be spent.
Northampton Labour believe that the money has to be spent on providing local essential services and promoting employment and that any cuts should be in the management and bureaucracy of councils as they reduce in size. It is criminal that senior management should be increasing at a time when front line services are being cut.
Locally this is reflected in cuts to services to the vulnerable when at the same time the County Council has given Silverstone a loan of £10.3 million of Northamptonshire tax payer’s money and are spending £2.25 million on the Northamptonshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
It will be of little comfort to those of us who want to see a stop to taxpayers money being used to underpin and finance the political leaderships pet projects on which they hold directorships when at the same time we are seeing an increase in hardship across Northampton as people struggle to make sense of the increased financial pressures they are having to deal with as a combined result of lower incomes, increased costs and inflation and a cut to the services available to them.
It is not unconnected that the national debt line has seen a 182% increase in enquiries from people who are becoming increasingly depressed about the pressures they are under leading to an increase in not only mental health issues but also domestic violence.
I believe it is the responsibility of the elected councillors to understand the issues and take immediate action as a matter of priority to address them in helping people through what is an increasingly difficult time and hope that people across Northampton will take a real active approach in opposing the cuts during the council’s budget consultation period.
With the biggest drop for 20 years in industrial output in October things will get tougher which is why it is time for councils to stop looking for someone to blame, to take responsibility for their decisions, to protect front line services and find the solutions for the long-term and not just to win a headline leading up to elections.