Councils in a Pickle

First posted THURSDAY, 20 DECEMBER 2012

COUNCILS IN A PICKLE BY 

Liam Carr

This year’s cuts to council budgets has been announced and councils in the north have again been targeted disproportionately for cuts.

One of the most striking examples of gross unfairness is the difference between Bolsover and Uttesford, in the leafy Saffron Walden constituency where Tory stalwart Sir Alan Haselhurst has been the MP since 1977.  Uttesford council will be given an budget increase of 6.4% this year. Contrast that with Bolsover, where a very different long standing MP has served since 1970 – Bolsover Council, in Dennis Skinners’ constituency, will be cut by a staggering 8.8%.

To put this outrageous inequality into perspective, the average cut is 1.7%. The average cut seems like a small percentage but in money terms it is a big very deal.  My own council County Durham is being cut by an extra £50 Million pounds in the coming year, this is on top of cuts imposed last year. The new settlement leaves councils with no choice but to sack workers and cut essential services.

Councils in northern rural areas where business rate incomes are lower, will be particularly hit by the Tory idea that councils should make their own money rather than looking to central government.  One idea that has been suggested is that libraries sell coffee.  I don’t want my council to sell me a Latte in the Library.  I can buy coffee from a small independently owned cafe near the Library. I want the the council to house the homeless and care for the vulnerable.Tories like to speak of Councils being less reliant on funds from central government.  This would be a persuasive argument if it wasn’t for the fact that it is our money anyway collected from our taxes, we just want a bit of it redistributed, for our local council to spend on essential services.

We are not all in this together.  The Tories give millionaires a tax cut to encourage them to choose to pay more tax, while working families have tax credits removed. Councils in the southern counties have their budgets protected while the northern towns are decimated. We have seen it all before from Tory governments, but these posh boys act with impunity; ‘Hitting people they will never meet and whose lives they will never understand’(1)

(1) Ed Miliband – PMQs – 13/12/1

Related posts:

What Tories mean by Localism

The Unnatural Death of Affordable Housing

Planning to Blame Immigrants? Get Your Facts Straight & Get Rid of Your Prejudices, Nick Boles

Privatising Council Services – Where Barnet goes, others will follow.

LIBRARIES – At The Heart Of Power

Cameron attacks our hard-won ‘Right to Challenge’

6 thoughts on “Councils in a Pickle

  1. Surely this is illegal, it is the same as buying peoples votes. It’s an if you don’t vote us in we will starve your council.

    • This is what Pickles calls ‘localism’ and ‘fair’. Instead of a redistributive process across the UK, each council area is treated as if they have the same resources and needs, which they patently do not. The north and midlands are losing so much greater a percentage of funding because they are losing the redistributed funds that they received under the Labour government.

    • What Tories mean by Localism
    • https://think-left.org/2012/12/20/what-tories-mean-by-localism/

      • Then again what would Labour do, remembering that a lot of Labour councils have undertaken some serious cuts to staff, lucky for us of course all the people being got rid of are of course working class staff since the redundancies of the upper middle class protects them at least that’s what my labour council declared before being removed,.

      • Labour councils are facing much larger % cuts in central funding! As explained by Liam in this piece and myself in What Tories mean by Localism

        The reason is that the Tories are taking away the extra funding that the Labour government gave poorer areas You are falling into the Tory trap.. they want you to blame the council not their impossible cuts!

  2. The councils need to take a lesson from North Dakota and start their own banks. Using their council taxes as capital, by exercising fractional reserve banking they could create many times that amount as loans by lending carefully into their local communities. This will bring returns in the form of interest which can be spent into the local community to improve quality of life for all. They should also create a new local currency a la Bristol and spend their new wealth into the locality in this new currency, ensuring that the money will continue to circulate locally and keep enriching it. We have to go indie from government now, the government is deliberately starving the rest of the country of cash so every area has to develop its own cash to compensate. The consequences of not doing this is literally to invite death.

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