This press release is in response to Telford And Wrekin Councils recommendation that the council tax should be frozen for the next two years and that the Council take the governments grant or more accurately bribe which is equal to a 1% council tax increase.
The People First Party strongly opposes this decision on several counts.
(1) This increase is nothing like sufficient.We feel that the Council should raise the council tax to whatever level is required to protect front line services.It is obvious that this will require a referendum,but they should not be afraid of putting this decision to the people of Telford And Wrekin who we feel will be generous enough to support any such increase..
(2) By the Councils own figures Telford and Wrekin Council already pay less for equivalent unitary services than most other Councils in The West Midlands.In the light of this information surely the people of Telford And Wrekin could be persuaded to pay more to retain services.
(3) The cuts in services are already evident and will certainly become more severe.The most deprived people in Telford And Wrekin paying more in most cases.In many instances cuts only produce increased costs medium and long term.For instance many services which meet the needs of those who present themselves as having low level needs are having all or most of their provisions cut.This often hastens their transition to high maintenance support.For example charging a commercial service to those who are still able to look after themselves but for a few hours home support ,has meant many going into residential homes sooner rather than later-everyone loses.
(4) Telford And Wrekin Council by their own admission admit that taking the government grant will add another £ 700,000 to the total of 23 million of ‘savings’ by 2015/2016, so in effect they are making life more difficult for themselves.Apparently they hope to attract jobs and growth to alleviate ‘savings’ pressures, but we feel that this hope could well be very optimistic.
In addition we have placed the word ‘ savings’ within inverted commas because this figure does not represent ‘savings’.It actually refers to cuts either to jobs or services.The word ‘savings’ is a deliberate attempt to spin the argument towards a far more acceptable doctrine.Everyone likes savings, very very few people like cuts.In making use of the word ‘savings’ Telford And Wrekin Council are buying into the disreputable and false narrative of the coalition government and this is a disgraceful thing for a so called ‘caring’ Labour Council to do.
(5 Finally, we feel that our ‘caring’ Council is actually more concerned with making ‘savings’ (actually cuts) than really caring about the less fortunate people of Telford And Wrekin.This pattern of thought flavours the entire Council document and is in line with the government conception that the well off and the relatively well off should be financially inconvenienced as little as possible in a time of austerity, even if this produces cuts in services which adversely affect the poorer and more vulnerable members of society and also the general public good.