Thursday, February 21, 2008
Budget Attacks Children and Elderly
There is no getting away from the fact that the people who suffered as a result of the LibDem and Tory decision to stand by their budget proposals last night were children and older people. What does that say about the current administration?
Despite fierce opposition and press coverage in The Times and on the BBC the coalition administration decided to press on with their decision to close the Livesey Childrens Museum. The closure will save £140,000. Let's put that into context. Next year the Council will "spend" £900,000 on consultants to advise it on how to move offices. It is simply crazy and indefensible to argue that £140,000 could not be found to save the museum.
And the Libs and Tories have continued with their plans to increase the cost of Meals on Wheels by 50%. What rate of inflation was being looked at when that decision was taken? This is a real attack on some of our most vulnerable residents and will push some of them into genuine food poverty.
These cuts are apparently justified on the basis that the Government has been unduly mean to Southwark this year. Rubbish! The Council will be getting 2% more this year from Central Government than it did last year to provide the same services. And Labour's alternative budget proposed last night avoided these cuts and proposed a below inflation council tax increase of 2.1%. And I should add our budget proposals were seen and approved by the Council's finance chiefs.
Last night's decisions were about the choices and priorities of the Tories and LibDems on Southwark Council. And they chose to attack the young and the old. Doesn't it just remind you of the worst days of Mrs Thatcher?