HATS OFF to John Gilbey for his preautumn statement call for George Osborne to spare local government further spending cuts and to devolve greater powers to local authorities. As he rightly said: “There’s no question about it – if they keep cutting money to local authorities, services… will be-cut.”
It’s not likely to be spared though, is it? Indeed, George Osborne has said that future savings would be delivered through “very substantial savings in public spending”. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility has said that government plans to balance the books in the next parliament would see even deeper cuts in public spending, that a big slice of those cuts could fall on local government, public services and welfare and that the plans would see public spending, as a proportion of GDP. fall to its lowest level since the 1930’s, possibly involving the loss of a million public sector jobs by 2020. We already know the effects of previous cuts to services and welfare in Kent because a KCC report, told us increased homelessness, sharp increases in numbers, including children, dependent on food banks, and rising crime rates in some of our poorest communities.
As far as we can see, the best chance of being spared further deep spending cuts to local authorities and an evisceration of their powers and responsibilities would be to vote against it at the next election.
Canterbury and District Green Party
Herne Bay Times, December 17th 2014