Local Government Cuts


 

news_3133My Thoughts On Local Government Cuts.

Sometime ago I mentioned in my previous article about local service cuts. Recently as yesterday I was speaking to a few people who had access to library computers and sports facilities now face a dilemma they found that their services had been cut.

They continue to argue that it’s the fault of the council that provide local services. What started out as a general discussion turned into a political debate which was interesting as they said that they never voted and now decided to vote at the next elections after I pointed out to them that it was central government that has cut the grants to local government and councils across the country have written and lobbied the government to no avail and the government continues to argue that they have no spare money.

A ballot boxMost of our elected representatives are there to serve the voters from which ever political parties that got them elected. Local Services have now being cut to the extent that some leisure centers such as education, swimming pools, gyms, day centers, care homes, hospitals, and museums had led to closures and now owed by private companies.

In the next 10 -15 years I’m almost convinced that we all will not recognize Local Government as it is at the current structure if the coalition continues with its current course. The hard facts are the coalition are not giving the incentives to Local Government to stimulate to building more new affordable rentable housing which I blame both our previous and present governments for their actions. Given that some council tenants who lives in tower blocks have been informed that their flats are facing demolition and councils have to be rehoused them to either one or two bedrooms or family homes.

There are not enough one bedroom accommodations some are moved into two bedroom accommodations which has add-on effect they have to pay the dreaded bedroom and council taxes. Some tower blocks which has been identified for demolition has a further added problems they are housing asylum seekers which contradicts the health and safety laws.

Instead of the Coalition cutting essential services in Local Government they should be working in partnership with councils and stop giving larger grants to their Conservatives and Libdems council chums. The grants should be shared out equally. Since the formation of the coalition there has been a cut in Police and Frontline Services, Benefits which the coalition has failed to address. Their solution to this is the big society which is ill thought out they should really reconsider a movement for change to generate well deserved grants to all essential services and stop playing political football.

No doubt there will be some who would continue to argue or play the blame games by saying that Labour had 13 years to sort this out. Well I could argue that Labour had to sort out 18 years of a Conservatives of under funding of public services, destruction of manufacturing industries and black hole that the Labour had to clear up the mess that they left behind. So I will not take any lessons from them.

majorLets not forget Conservatives under John Major where more destruction came after Thatcher was forced out of office like The Conservative majority proved too small for effective control over his backbenchers, particularly after the United Kingdom’s forced exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) on “Black Wednesday“, 16 September 1992, just five months into the new parliament, when billions of pounds were spent in a futile attempt to defend the currency’s value. After the release of Black Wednesday government documents,it became apparent that Major came very close to stepping down from office at this point, having even prepared an unsent letter of resignation addressed to the Queen.Major continued to defend Britain’s membership of the ERM, stating that “The ERM was the medicine to cure the ailment, but it was not the ailment”.

Major kept his economic team unchanged for seven months after Black Wednesday before he replaced Norman Lamont with Kenneth Clarke as Chancellor of the Exchequer, after months of press criticism of Lamont and disastrous defeat at a by-election in Newbury. Such a delay, on top of the crisis, was exploited by Major’s critics as proof of the indecisiveness that was to undermine his authority through the rest of his premiership. Britain’s departure from the ERM led to a fall in the opinion poll ratings for the Conservative Party,which despite the improvement in the economic position, did not fully recover whilst John Major was Prime Minister.

Within a year of Major’s general election win, general public and media opinion of him had plummeted, with Black Wednesday, mine closures, the Maastricht dispute and mass unemployment being cited as four key areas of dissatisfaction with the prime minister. The newspapers which traditionally supported the Conservatives and had championed Major at the election were now being critical of him on an almost daily basis.

The UK’s forced withdrawal from the ERM was succeeded by a partial economic recovery with a new policy of flexible exchange rates, allowing lower interest rates and devaluation – increased demand for UK goods in export markets. The recession that had started just before Major came to office was declared over in April 1993, when the economy grew by 0.2%. Unemployment started to fall; by the start of 1993 it had reached almost 3,000,000, but by early 1997 it stood at 1,700,000

On becoming Prime Minister Major had promised to keep Britain “at the very heart of Europe”, and claimed to have won “game, set and match for Britain” – by negotiating the social chapter and single currency opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty, and by ensuring that there was no overt mention of a “Federal” Europe and that foreign and defence policy were kept as matters of inter-governmental cooperation, in separate “pillars” from the supranational European Union. By 2010 some of these concessions, but not Britain’s non-membership of the Single Currency, had been overtaken by subsequent events.

However, even these moves towards greater European integration met with vehement opposition from the Eurosceptic wing of the party and the Cabinet as the Government attempted to ratify the Maastricht Treaty in the first half of 1993. Although the Labour opposition supported the treaty, they were prepared to tactically oppose certain provisions in order to weaken the government. This opposition included passing an amendment that required a vote on the social chapter aspects of the treaty before it could be ratified. Several Conservative MPs, known as the Maastricht Rebels, voted against the treaty, and the Government was defeated. Major called another vote on the following day, 23 July 1993, which he declared a vote of confidence. He won by 40 votes, but the damage had been done to his authority in parliament.

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