LETTER: Cut the austerity

HUGE spending cuts proposed by the Conservatives could see many council-run services disappear within the next five years.

Council cuts in the South East mean women fleeing domestic violence being turned away from refuges, a lack of street lighting plunging communities into darkness, and children’s centres, libraries, parks, and police stations being closed. Less cash for local government means people pay more for parking, social care, births, deaths and marriages, as well as burials and cremations.

The Prime Minister has said that only £1 in every £100 of government spending would be cut in the first two years – but this claim simply does not stand up to scrutiny. Figures from the last Budget show that £26.6bn is set to be cut – £6.53 in each £100 spent this year, then a further £5.57 next year.

Only last week councils were told they are to lose £7.18 out of every £100 they receive in public health grants.

If the government has its way local services that councils are not legally obliged to provide will start to disappear. Pest control, museums, allotments, youth services and sports centres could become things of the past, while councils will find it increasingly difficult to provide statutory services such as social care and child protection. It’s time to give local councils respite from the austerity axe.

Maggie Ferncombe

Regional Secretary,

UNISON South East