Workers distraught at news 28 TSO post will go if £10m savings package agreed at budget meeting on 18th February – so says the Front Page headline on the Angus Edition of The Dundee Courier today.
Iain Gauld – Angus Council Leader says “We have made a commitment to our tenancy support officers that they will be given the best possible opportunity for continuity in a new service” and therein lies the clue. Back in November or December when this first came to the attention of the press, do we really accept that Angus Council or any other hard pressed council really has the luxury of “listening” to constituents and simply take the knife to the budgets they get least resistance to cutting?
Councils and Councillors are simply not listening. They are not listening to the public, who elect and pay them and they are not listening to their own employees. Angus Council are not alone as many of the stories below indicate. The voices to listen to are slightly absent and low in volume but if they are there at all they should be listened to.
Cuts are a necessary evil and this particular cut is very tough, however the fact is that cuts have to be made as the simple equation income less expenditure does not balance. It does not balance in local councils across the country, any more that it balances for Angus Council. The equation does not balance in the United Kingdom full stop. Top heavy governing structures and the associated costs don’t help.
Ruth Davidson recently announced “Tax Cuts” as a front line policy in the upcoming Scottish elections – “Tax Cuts” – who in their right mind does not understand that we simply cannot generate enough income to cover our spending, and have not done so for many many years. What policy that cuts that income further can possibly be sensible at a time when severe austerity is being executed all around.
The simple equation needs at the very least to be BALANCED. Until such time as income is seen to be increasing then we cannot continue spending as if there is no tomorrow. The burden of income is sitting with the very constituents experiencing the cuts. The complete failure of successive governments to fairly collect tax from the richest companies on earth has put us where we are now. Allowing pure profiteering by energy companies, major retailers, Internet companies, car companies, insurance companies and many more in order to fill the back pockets of politicians both local and global must be one of the biggest authorised corruption cases of all time.
The pain will go on and at what point the elected representatives wake up and realise that the public, their constituents, are being pushed ever closer to the wire, I’m not sure, but what is clearly shown by this cut is that the pages are now being lifted and the public are starting to look a little deeper into the reasons behind the cuts. The key will be people power, turning up at open public meetings, holding the decision makers to account, questioning every budget squeeze. The biggest thing the people can do is to review the budget spending plans and query the luxuries, query the wild expenses, the foreign trips, the cost of doing council business, the pensions and benefits of the leadership, the lack of cuts in a top heavy management structure. Be interested about where your hard earned money is going.
In the case of the Angus Council TSO’s it’s all been too little too late, the people didn’t turn up at the open meetings, the decision was made and once made, almost nothing on earth will cause a change this late in the day. The Councillors view will be you had your chance and didn’t take it. Iain Gaul’s statement kind of tells all ahead of a decision to be taken today, read the statement again. The decision is already made and has been for some time.