Monday, July 19, 2010

Southwark Trades Union Council

This evening I spoke at a meeting of the Southwark Trades Union Council. It is safe to say that I had a frank exchange of views with some of those present at the meeting who appeared to have mistaken me for George Osborne! But I suppose that some may argue that being harangued and heckled by Ted Knight is a sign of political arrival.

With absolute justification many of those present at the meeting are worried about the budget cuts which are coming - and the impact they will have on their jobs, homes, health and aspirations. We have already seen the loss of the Building Schools for the Future budget in most local authorities, and there is worse to come.

Although there are strong arguments to be made against these budget cuts I have to be realistic about the decisions which I make as Council Leader. I don't have the luxury of dealing with imaginary and non- existent budgets and will have to deal with the reality of the sums passed to us by the Coalition Government. So I say to those who oppose any cuts and choose not to accept any reality whatever it may be - I will oppose and argue against any cuts unless and until they come, but I will do nothing which jeopardises the council's ability to provide the best services which it can to those who are most reliant upon those services.

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