A press release I sent to the Chronicle – that colleagues liked so much that they asked me to post it online. So here it is:
Yesterday’s meeting of Hampshire’s Conservative cabinet confirmed that they will go ahead with their reckless Â£140 million cuts. These will only cost us more long-term.
- Their cuts to health and care will mean that the NHS is unable to hit the financial targets laid out in its ‘sustainability and transformation plan’ – and will put health and care services under even more stress.
- Their cuts to Household Waste Recovery Centres are almost certain to lead to more fly-tipping.
In a surprise decision, the Cabinet also voted to recommend extra money to support parish and town councils in covering for services cut by Hampshire – such as community transport, school crossing patrols and subsidised bus services – however the Conservatives still have not put anything in place to support the many areas of Hampshire without parish and town councils – such as Winchester.
There’s also still no sign that they are taking any account of the impact of the cuts in less well-off areas of Hampshire.
Martin Tod, Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Winchester Westgate, commented:
We’re paying the price for the Conservatives’ incompetent and chaotic management of Brexit and the economy. This has led to collapsing investment, the lowest growth in both the EU and the G7 and rapidly growing inflation. Aside from the effect on people’s cost of living and the very real threat to businesses and jobs, this utter incompetence makes it even harder to tackle the crisis in funding for council services.
These cuts are a disaster of the Conservatives’ making – Conservative MPs, Conservative Ministers and Conservative Councillors have all contributed to this fiasco – and it will hit local people hard. The Conservatives are now compounding their failure by deciding not to have any kind of plan for the many areas of Hampshire without parish and town councils.
This is a real threat to Winchester – and, along with my colleagues, I will continue to push for the council to put in place a plan for unparished areas – and to stop the most damaging of their proposed cuts.
And nationally, the sooner we can find a way to ‘exit from Brexit’ and focus on a plan to turn round the economy, the better it will be for jobs, for businesses and for our local public services.