In 2015 I attended a Bucks County Council meeting and the guest speaker was Tony Travers of the London School of Economics. - this is an expert free from political bias, speaking honestly about his specialism.
At that time Mr Travers delivered a stark warning about the future of our public services, and the ongoing cuts being brought about by George Osborne’s deficit reduction plan.
According to Mr Travers and his research our public services budgets were being reduced so significantly under the plan, that by the end the only developed country in the world with less provided by the state would be South Korea. And all around us we can see that happening, talk of ‘difficult decisions’ from our council leaders , drives to be ‘more commercial’ - and of course long grass where previously it would have been cut back - plus, don’t even get me started on the potholes.
Next year Bucks County Council will receive no government grant at all, one of the first in the country to lose that income stream.
This is money that would have been spent on our public services here in Buckinghamshire.
This forced austerity has come from central government, and I genuinely feel sympathy for councils up and down the country who are being forced to cut deeper into a bone from which the meat has long since been utilised.
At times like this all councils are looking at what is essential and what is not essential, and where both are essential how to do things differently - then, if that’s still too expensive, what is popular with voters and what isn’t.
The full facts of what happened at Grenfell, and what led to this absolute shame on our country are yet to be revealled, and I share in the anger of those affected by this preventable disaster.
If cuts are being made on top of cuts, and councils are forced to weigh up whether saving money on cladding in the poorer part of town would keep the grass looking nice in the richer areas where the committees and complainers are - we are in for a dark period in our national history. There must be a better way - surely?
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