Posted by: iangilbert | June 22, 2010

Well planned cuts??

Today the Echo carries an editorial claiming that the Con-Dem cuts are well planned. Here’s the letter I’ve sent in response:

I am astonished by the claim in today’s Echo editorial that the massive cuts being imposed by the Conservative/Lib Dem government are well planned. Last Thursday I repeatedly failed to get an answer from the Conservative Executive Councillor for Children & Learning about what these cuts would mean for children and young people in Southend. He couldn’t tell me anything. In fact, it’s entirely fair to say he hadn’t got a clue.

To be frank, at the time of writing nobody in the Civic Centre has a clue about the impact of these cuts on any services. Yet we must make massive cuts in the space of a few weeks.

The council has lost £1million of grants from the Department for Education with immediate effect, this is not loose change. The council may have to make redundancies, yet have no contingency to pay redundancy payments, forcing even deeper cuts and catching us in a vicious circle. I strongly suspect that this chaos is being seen in other organisations where the axe is falling.

The Conservatives could have planned this. The size and type of grants that the council gets have always been public information, and most councils are Conservative-controlled. The size of the national debt has actually been revised down since the election, so any claim that “it’s worse than we thought” is nonsense.

Perhaps they didn’t even want to be honest with their own Councillors about the scale of cuts that were coming.

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