This week the Tory controlled county council again discussed a package of cuts that will devastate social care and other vital services provided to the people of Cambridgeshire.
The council needs to make £41m of cuts next year alone – with around £100m needed over the next five years. This will hit some of the most vulnerable people in our communities – elderly people, children in care and disabled people - as the council struggles to provide the support they need.
The county council has launched a consultation with local people to inform them of the challenge the county faces and to ask people’s views – www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/challenge
But where are these cuts coming from? They are being driven by the Conservative Government’s austerity agenda. This is the very Government our own South Cambs MP Heidi Allen is a member of. The same Heidi Allen who argued so passionately against tax credit cuts earlier this year saying she ‘became an MP to stand up for the vulnerable’.
John Beresford, chairman of South Cambs Labour Party, said: “We should be ashamed that in an area of considerable affluence like South Cambridgeshire we cannot find the resources to make the lives of the more vulnerable amongst us more tolerable.
“Even the Tories are complaining about the cuts. The Leader of Oxfordshire Council has had to explain to one of its Tory critics, a certain D. Cameron, that it has had to cut its services to the bone in the face of central government demands.”
Another Conservative, Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, recently warned: “Even if councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks, closed all children’s centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres and turned off every street light they will not have saved enough money to plug the financial black hole they face by 2020.”
The organisation representing social care providers warned, in a letter to ministers on 3rd December, of,
- Decreasing support for the elderly, the disabled and their carers
- The increasing failure of home, residential and nursing home providers
- An increased pressure on the NHS with more people being admitted to hospital and more delays in getting them back to safe accommodation.
Mr Beresford added: “Along with Labour supporters in Cambridge and elsewhere in the county we need to provide a real opposition to these cuts, and to explain to the people who live in this area that they are driven, purely and simply, by Tory ideology.”