Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Politics of cuts

Now the spectre of cuts has become reality here in Somerset, it is interesting to see how everyone reacts to these cuts.

Let's start with the Conservatives, Eric Pickles he changes the language and definition of the grants to local government, 'spending power' is the new language, a formula that has taken local councillors officers much time to unpick, this made up of the old rate support grant, reserves, council tax collection, NHS care budgets to name a few.

Even the local Conservatives are angry by sleight of hand of Eric Pickles. Local Conservatives have a choice they can disassociate themselves from their Conservative betters like Mr Shapps, housing minister who says there are 'no excuses to cuts to front line services' (BBC website) or they can agree up to them.

The Lib Dems coalition partners, we are seeing a real split between local activists and the leading Lib Dems, in the independent newspaper we are seeing Council leaders like Cllr Kemp of Liverpool calling for his leader Nick Clegg to 'rein in' Pickles and Shapps and calling them 'Laural and Hardy', but a spokesman for Nick Clegg has told the Independent these are NOT the views of the Liberal Democrats in government.

These cuts to local government are front loaded to take place in the first two years of the coalition government.

Cllr Kemp says the governments in general but specifically Pickles and Shapps 'Their behaviour is a disgrace, they don't know how serious the situation is they created by getting brownie points by front loading or deliberately trying to distract attention from the problems they have created'. The problem for Cllr Kemp is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Daniel Alexander is the holder of the purse, so all this would have been agreed with him.

Again it time for the Lib Dems to disassociate themselves with these large front loaded cuts to local authorities.

These are the choices made with cutting harder and faster than Labour had stated, and to be fair before the election the Lib Dems, the direct outcome of these front loaded cuts are loss of services, jobs and economic spending power in our local communities.

As a Labour councillor, I will work with everyone to campaign against these cuts or to mitigate the impact of these cuts.

For what it is worth I like Laurel and Hardy, Pickles and Shapps are more likely to cause indigestion.

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