Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Choices choices

Monday evening we held the monthly Mendip Council scrutiny committee meeting.

The more I attend council meetings the more I fear councils are out of touch with the world I occupy.

We are told the county council will have to make £105 million of cuts over the next four years, this with the Tories promises of no council tax increases. One tory said there was more fat to be trimmed, but essentially they want to move services in the voluntary sector, they want to structure of local government as a funding centre to fund services run by others, this with the consequence of poor services for ordinary people and the wealthy can buy the services they need.

The county plan makes statements on improvements to education in the county yet the council wants to rationalise children's centres with likely voluntary input, Academies competing for students, so less collaboration, schools poaching children from school catchment areas and making it harder to plan decent education.

I asked about when contracts are to be awarded should they not insists that a living wage and decent contractual arrangements be made.

We know the vulnerable children services had a poor ofsted report outlining poor leadership.

The infrastructure of our county is poor, the roads are disintegrating, the bus services are poor and the digital broadband is also poor for too many communities. Yet the county say they want to create a strong economy, without the infrastructure building a strong economy will be difficult.

It is my belief the county council needs to honest about what they can achieve and this should be independently verifiable, too many reports have too many words and not enough progress to build better economies, deliver good public services and creating a more equal society.

Without a clear aim, any county plan is a report to sit on a shelf.

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