At the meeting of East Sussex County Council to set next year’s budget, during which many voices were raised against the ‘cuts’ necessitated by the government’s refusal to continue the previous levels of Rate Support Grant, I offered up the following comments referring to the recent lobbying of central government by several Sussex councils and to this paragraph in the cabinet report: “East Sussex County Council will continue to lobby the government to ensure that the needs of the people of East Sussex are understood by central government.”
I continued: “Councillors, do not delude yourselves!
“There is no misunderstanding. The government is fully aware of the effects of its policies on local government.
“It understands perfectly the distress it is causing.
“It is not doing it through malice; nor is it doing it as a result of the dreadful financial mess it inherited from the last Labour government.
“But because it has higher priorities. The funding that it is denying to local government is needed for a far, far more important purpose (as it sees things). That money is needed to be poured into the treasury of the European Union. And we are not talking about insignificant numbers here. The sums of money are not just huge, not just gigantic, but gargantuan. Some £12bn a year by all accounts, to be spent on their people instead of ours. And another £12bn to be doled out as foreign aid.
“That’s the thick end of £25bn a year (every year).
“That is the reason adult social care will go short.
“That is the reason children’s services will go short.
“That is the reason for the hated ‘cuts’.
“That is the reason central government is emptying its bowels on local government.
“We councillors in ESCC ought to have the courage to alert the public to these facts.
“Councillors, I urge you to be open and honest with your constituents about this. Please do not disappoint them.”
This was received in silence by councillors (apart from my fellow UKIP councillors) though afterwards several councillors from other parties said that they agreed with me but could not say so publicly!
Roll on the referendum!
Cllr Michael Philips
De La Warr Road
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