I’m just looking at Kent County Council’s budget consultation document for 2016-2017. It makes for abysmal reading.
After asking us how much Council Tax we would be willing to pay, it goes on to offer a series of increasingly impossible choices.
We are asked to identify the most and the least important services from a set of lists of what £1,000 of council spending buys. There are 14 lists altogether.
Here are some examples:
Twenty two faulty street lights to be repaired; sixty two attendances by a young person at their local youth centre; five hundred journeys on subsidised bus routes; nine weeks of taxi transport to and from school for one child with special educational needs; four days of supported living for an adult with learning difficulties.
That’s just the first screen.
I couldn’t go any further because to do so would be to agree that any one of these services was more important than the others: that street lights are more important than youth clubs, or that subsidised bus routes are more important than children with special needs.
It’s not really a fair choice is it?
In case you haven’t figured it out, it’s a con. These impossible choices are being foisted on us because the government has already made a number of other choices, none of which were open to consultation.
The choice of whether to replace the Trident nuclear submarine programme, for example, at the cost of £130 billion.
The choice of whether to continue subsidising corporations to the tune of £93 billion a year.
There are thousands of choices that the government has already made before forcing these choices on to the tax payer by cutting funding to local councils.
And central to all of this, of course, is the chancellor’s choice to go on imposing austerity when nearly every economist in the world is telling him that it will only make things worse.
Message from Canterbury and Whitstable Stop the Cuts Group:
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader for Labour has shown massive support for an anti -austerity programme giving hope and confidence to thousands of people. Meetings are taking place locally to discuss how groups from across the political spectrum can work to fight cuts.
For more information:
Canterbury and Whitstable Stop The Cuts Group