In June, 150 council leaders insisted that ‘local government finance must be put on a sustainable footing’. Their demand was unmet.
As the WSCT points out, West Sussex County Council is looking to save £140m ‘on top of the £79m already identified’.
How can reductions on this scale be achieved without causing lasting damage to the local scene and to local communities?
Councillors may need to re-examine their part in a process which, in one light, casts them as pawns and punchbags useful to the Chancellor’s austerity plans.
Some 100 youth workers are to go – youth services are not ‘core business’. An earlier round culled a core of highly dedicated, experienced youth workers – with potentially disastrous effects.
Notices now variously posted in Horsham town centre detail measures for responding to the ‘anti-social behaviour (that) is a significant and persistent problem within Horsham Town Centre’.
One of these signifies that ‘Between 9pm and 6am persons under the age of 16 who are not under the effective control of a parent or a person over 18 may be removed to their home or a place of safety if more appropriate’.
Already, the condition of some of our roads is regressing to a point unseen for over half a century.
Resurfacing occurs but it can quickly be compromised because adjoining ditches are neglected or barely exist.
Local authorities have recently been warned ‘that the way home care is currently commissioned is unsustainable, leading to inadequate pay, poor working conditions for care workers and increasing threats to older people’s human rights’.
The group ‘Don’t Cut Us Out’ previously made plain its opposition to reductions in social care and services.
The campaign may need to be renewed and supplemented by other lines of opposition and far greater involvement.
Rather than leave it to those who have already declared concern, it is perhaps incumbent upon us all where we can to cause our elected representatives to feel the heat of reasoned protest as appropriate.
Individuals may resign themselves to a belief that it will all turn out right in the end or see the opposition case as hopeless.
Perhaps so; I prefer the stance adopted by Shelley, Horsham’s most famous son, in his call, ‘Awake! –arise! – or be forever fallen’.
Denne Road, Horsham