LETTER: ‘The time has long since passed when councils can absorb cuts’

The time has long since passed when councils can absorb these cuts without affecting essential and very visible services.

This should have been very apparent to local councillors last May, however majority party councillors not only failed to point this out to the electorate but actively encouraged us to vote for a government that is ideologically behind the cuts.

It is then somewhat disingenuous when those very same councillors start bleating about a school crossing patrol being cut here or a street light being switched off there.

These cuts are not necessary but part of a deliberate policy to reduce the size of, and consequently services provided by, local councils in order to pay for further cuts in taxation of the rich and large corporations. When I started in local government 34 years ago the philosophy was “identify the need and then find the resources to meet that need”.

Central government has decided to reduce the resources local councils have and passed over to them the difficult and unpopular decisions as to which needs will not be met.

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We don’t need populist charades from our councillors but a principled stand which says to central government, stop the cuts and reverse funding to a level where local councils can effectively support their communities again.

If the reductions in central government funding continue then some very hard choices have to be made over who loses out and by how much. You cannot have an economic policy which benefits the few at the expense of the many without some of the most vulnerable and frail in our communities being put at risk.

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