PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 21 Dec 2015, 05:40

Have a look at these two reports (LINK) and (LINK). The first concerns the lack of debate over the withdrawal of Chemical Emergency response vehicles without debate in parliament. The second asks that the same attention should be paid to late and incorrect benefit payments as is put into chasing benefit cheats as there is good evidence that leaving people temporarily unsupported means hunger.
What are the consequences of the relentless pressure of austerity? Do the people who impose them understand or care?
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 05 Mar 2016, 06:57

There was a good article in yesterday's BET (Page 20) with the headline; 'Benefits freeze will hit 15,900 Pendle children'. It draws attention to the four year freeze on benefits that starts next month. It is estimated by the Children's Society that by 2020 the families affected will have lost 12% of their already inadequate incomes in real terms. We hear this morning that Ossie has decided not to cut tax relief on pension contributions which would have hit many high end earners after a wave of protest from back bench Tory MPs. In consequence if he is to avoid intervention by the BofE to massage 'the economic miracle' he will have to impose further cuts somewhere and his track record makes it quite clear where the target income groups will be.
Our caring MP, Andrew Stephenson, when asked about this replied "It is important to get more people back in work" Etcetera.... This ignores the fact that 11,700 of the children affected in 5,000 families are already in work but receive top up benefits because their pay is so low. Further he said "Work is the only way out of poverty, not unaffordable increases in benefits".
I think that is perfectly clear.... If you are poor you must work and put up with the low wage. Don't expect help to maintain income from the government. I hope people will remember this attitude next time they are in a polling booth.
Funnily enough I was searching for a book this morning and was reminded of Ivan Illich's 1978 book 'The Right to Useful Employment and its Professional Enemies'. Perhaps Ossie and Cameron should read it..... One quote from it: "Industrial growth promotes the modernisation of poverty". I think he may have been right.....
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 13 Mar 2016, 04:32

I found this in the archive. From the Craven Herald. I'd forgotten that the Carnegie Foundation were involved in the first public library...

CARNEGIE UNITED KINGDOM TRUST
CH. 23/08/1929. Report of the opening of a room in the Town Hall at Barnoldswick as a public lending library. This is to be staffed by members of Toc H and largely financed by a grant from The Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. 800 books are the starting stock and more will be added later.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 18 Mar 2016, 05:41

Ossie's budget is further bad news for public services. Because his targets are limited by his self-imposed ring fencing of some departments the further savings he needs to 'keep on track' (!!) are going to be police, fire, local government and of course welfare. The last round of council budgets was bad enough and now there looks to be a possibility of even more austerity.
As if that wasn't enough, see THIS BBC report into the investigation into possible fraud at the Police Federation of England and Wales.
On defence, there was an interesting letter in Private Eye from someone who evidently has a close eye on the navy saying that at the moment none of the type 45 frigates suffering from design faults are in service, five are tied up to the dock in Portsmouth covered in scaffolding and the sixth is 'on trials' in the Clyde. A further letter details the confusion caused by the International trade in Arms Restrictions which is hampering repair work on systems provided by the US as many procedures are held to be 'illegal' even if the parts at fault are made in Britain.
A further article 'In the Back' on page 38 lays out the impending problems caused by the BAE contract to repair the faulty ships as it is due to run out and on present evidence there isn't going to be room at Portsmouth for both the frigates and the two new aircraft carriers when they are fitting out (also under BAE contract). It is by no means certain that the Type 45s will be repaired before that happens. Cock-up springs to mind......
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 26 Aug 2016, 05:44

Did you pick up the fact that all 6 of the Type 45 frigates are out of service now? This cock-up is being kept very quiet....
Read THIS BBC report on the plans for revision of the NHS to address the forecast £22million shortfall. Basically the overall plan is to make the savings by cuts. Remember "Safe in our hands"?. A financial disaster is looming and what a surprise, cuts to services and bed numbers are seen as the answer.
In addition continuing criticism of Jeremy Hunt's "7 day service" policy and the problems that has caused still loom over the service. I think the best thing to do is try to keep healthy and identify a good vet!
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 28 Sep 2016, 04:00

I can't find any mention on the web but I heard a report yesterday that Lancashire County council have been warned that they are rapidly approaching the point where they cannot fund even the statutory services they are bound to offer let alone anything with discretionary funding. A shameful reflection on the veracity of Osborne and Cameron and the 'Economic Miracle'. Austerity doesn't work but a blind eye is being turned in Westminster as they flounder. Normal governance and sensible economic policies are totally absent. We are looking at the classic case of 'kicking the can down the road' and there is much worse to come.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by David Whipp » 28 Sep 2016, 06:42

Item 5 on this agenda is the report by PWC, which is the independent assessment of the financial position of LCC. County cabinet agenda.

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 29 Sep 2016, 04:30

My God! That appendix 'A' makes grim reading David. Plaques, You need to look at this, you're good at this stuff. I lost the will to live before I had finished it but I get the gist! Apart from the inhumanity that can lead to the government policies that can cause this it is a tragic outlook for anyone relying on these services...
The most depressing evidence I have seen so far about the effects of austerity and the rotten story behind the 'Economic Miracle'.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by plaques » 29 Sep 2016, 06:56

I was a little annoyed that the Conservatives thought the report carried out by outside experts was a waist of money. (we knew that we were in a hole anyway) Technically they were probably right but it has removed all doubt that it is "just your opinion". Don't worry Philip Hammond will sort it out!

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 30 Sep 2016, 04:18

In a pig's ear! We are watching a train wreck in slow motion again..... But this time it is the quality of life in the UK.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Big Kev » 30 Sep 2016, 08:09

Stanley wrote:I can't find any mention on the web but I heard a report yesterday that Lancashire County council have been warned that they are rapidly approaching the point where they cannot fund even the statutory services they are bound to offer let alone anything with discretionary funding. A shameful reflection on the veracity of Osborne and Cameron and the 'Economic Miracle'. Austerity doesn't work but a blind eye is being turned in Westminster as they flounder. Normal governance and sensible economic policies are totally absent. We are looking at the classic case of 'kicking the can down the road' and there is much worse to come.
There's a headline on the BBC red button service that mentions LCC running out of money in 3 years.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by David Whipp » 30 Sep 2016, 08:51

The BBC (and press) headlines are too simplistic to be accurate...

The county council (in common with Pendle Council and lots of other councils up and down the country) are using reserves to keep services going (and cutting the cost of providing services - or stopping providing services - to try and make ends meet whilst there's still the cushion of reserves).

The projections from PWC confirm that the LCC reserves will be used up in two or three years time.

After that, the gap between the total income of the county council and the cost of providing the services that the county are legally obliged to provide will be scores of millions of pounds annually.

Even if all the county council services were provided at a cost level equivalent to the cheapest providers in each service area, the gap will still be £79 million a year.

This all assumes that council tax will go up by the highest permitted amount, which is what the government are encouraging councils to do nowadays, and that the government continue to phase out the revenue support grants by 2020.

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 01 Oct 2016, 04:09

Good clarification David but still a bleak picture. Shifting costs to Council Tax.... no surprise there! Meanwhile, in case anyone has forgotten, the cash still flows upwards to the top 1%! Jeremy talks about a Labour Government redressing the balance. Don't hold your breath! my gut tells me that it is going to get a lot worse before any balance is achieved.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 04 Oct 2016, 05:03

When I first started the process of putting my LPAs in place the wait for registration after the final application has gone through was 9 weeks. It is now 16/17 weeks and will no doubt get worse over Xmas. This is bad enough for me but think of the problems it will be causing for families who are trying to register after a death. We have heard enough in Family Matters to know that this is stressful in the best of circumstances. I can only imagine how bad it must be now that the system is slowing. I have no doubt that at bottom, this deterioration is due to lack of funding and staff in the process. A vast hidden consequence of the cuts.....
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 05 Dec 2016, 05:54

See THIS for a Guardian report on the state of care homes. An increase of almost 25% seems excessive. The CQC juggle with the figures and try to give the impression that things are OK but even their figures show a high proportion of facilities as 'in need of improvement' and the incidence of these is rising. It is this increase in cots which is causing many providers to withdraw from Local Government contracts and in turn this increases bed-blocking in the NHS. This system is underfunded and in a mess. There is no prospect of any improvement even though the government spew out statistics 'proving' that the system is getting more money. These figures take no account of rising wages for carers or increases in the number of old people requiring support.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 20 Jan 2017, 07:51

If you tend towards depression don't on any account read the BET this week.... Apart from me banging on about the disgrace of the library closures there is a report that a change in Housing finance has further hit the Council finances to the tune of £3million (That's right, three million pounds!) Tony Greaves describes this as the transition from 'crisis' to 'disaster' and I fear he may be right. How much more damage will be done as our pathetic excuse for a government deals with the fall-out of Brexit?
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by David Whipp » 20 Jan 2017, 08:34

The blow of losing 'New Homes Bonus' (NHB) from the government is very dispiriting.

The government offered a firm four year funding settlement. Although this showed our area getting less and less each year, we signed up for it as at least it gave us certainty. We got on with trying to save the one and a half million pounds that needs to come out of the budget for next year alone. (And have managed over £1 million so far without too drastic cuts in services.)

Then they (pardon my French) shit all over us and cut again the amount of government grant in the area. You really do begin to think, what's the point?

(In Pendle, most of the NHB has actually come from the reoccupation of long term empty property. From having one of the highest proportions of vacant houses in the country to now being below the national average, is an unsung success story that's literally given us a bonus - but not any longer, thanks to those bastards in government.)

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by plaques » 20 Jan 2017, 12:26

David, you sound just like Donald Trump as part of his election campaign. Is there something you're not telling us?

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 21 Jan 2017, 04:59

I can understand your anger David and sympathise fully. You are right to get angry, what the Tories are doing is nothing less than an attack on the fabric of society and the irony is that the results will damage their comfortable world as well. What we need is a national petition against local government cuts, the response would be earth shattering! They are ignorant incompetent bastards.
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Tizer » 21 Jan 2017, 10:24

David, if I lived up there I'd be one of your supporters, it sounds like you do a grand job and get on well with folk. I'd be interested to know your view, from having experience in local government why we don't seem to have better people getting into national government these days? Is it just that such people are put off by the decline in the image of MPs after the expenses scandal etc? How can we attract better people into those positions?

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by David Whipp » 21 Jan 2017, 11:49

Can't comment about folk getting into national government - I've no knowledge or experience of that.

What I have noticed is that people elected as MPs who've been councillors and held positions in local councils, tend to have more idea than those who haven't (these seems to apply to people of all parties, but excludes Eric Pickles...). My perception will be influenced by my own sphere of interest, but maybe such experience comes in handy in the corridors of Westminster? Or maybe the bankers and their ilk outnumber them nowadays - and that's why we are where we are?

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 22 Jan 2017, 04:40

What a good question Tiz! And one which I believe need some serious attention. I remember hearing a speech by Jesse Boot (he of the chemist's shops) in which he appealed for more historians and less lawyers in Parliament and I agree with that! (But of course like him, I am an historian and therefore biased!)
Until the 17th century MPs were almost exclusively landed magnates or the scions of aristocracy. There was one notable discontinuity in the mid 17th century when tensions between Monarchy and the country resulted in a faction in Parliament drawn from disaffected country squires and middling sorts, this resulted in the Civil War of course. The biggest changes came after the great Reform Acts of the 19th century when the route into Parliament included those who were active in local politics or the unions. This intake continued until the 1960s when gradually the area of selection swung to the better educated and connected and at this time the financial interests started to have greater influence in selection. You needed powerful backers. Once the Oxbridge faction gained power they selected candidate most like themselves. To be in the club you needed private money, connections, a PPE degree at Oxford or Cambridge and a post as researcher or advisor to a sitting MP. Eventually this led to selection as a candidate. The result of this was a watering down of the influence of grass roots politics or industrial experience. This has reached the ridiculous position where in the Tory party especially the Bullingdon Tendency virtually ran the Cabinet under Cameron.
To my mind, qualification as a candidate ought to demand experience of grass roots politics or the work floor. It is painfully obvious that most of our ministers of state have no practical experience whatsoever. I always remember Tony Blair expressing surprise at an archaeological dig in Spennymore when he was told that at one time the Vikings controlled the NE! Angela Ledsom is minister of Agriculture for God's sake!! I rest my case......
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Tizer » 22 Jan 2017, 10:48

It's become a critical issue now that we've had the EU referendum debacle, Trump's ascendency to power and the rest of Europe on the verge of swinging to the far right. The solution must come in improved education for voters and a better process of attracting and selecting the right candidates.

There was a passing comment in The Times about a young MP who was concerned about trouble with travellers' horses getting onto her local housing estate. She told an older MP that they had trouble with horses on their estate and he replied that they kept llamas on theirs, thinking she was talking about a country house estate!

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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by Stanley » 23 Jan 2017, 05:30

Shades of duck houses......
David, have you seen the latest edition of the Tory Free-sheet 'County News'? They are claiming that local government cuts are Labour's fault and pledging to reinstate the libraries. Oh, and they are also claiming credit for action against flooding improving road safety etc. Talk about brass neck!! I hate having it in the house but have kept it until you say you have a copy. It demands a response......
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Re: PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS

Post by David Whipp » 23 Jan 2017, 09:08

Thanks Stanley.

Arrived with me yesterday...

Apart from blaming Government cuts on everyone else, the most blatant Tory truth twisting is the article about road safety. They complain about investment being slashed, but 'overlook' that it was their own former Conservative administration at county hall that did the slashing! They scrapped road safety schemes and put all the money into 'sign only' 20mph limits...

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