Friday, June 12, 2009

What 'Mr Ten Per Cent' would mean in Lincolnshire...

Local Tories endlessly try to kid us that the Labour Government doesn't give Lincolnshire enough money for services like police, schools, health and social services.

Of course, they never mention the year-on-year-on-year real cuts we suffered under the last Conservative Government.

And they won't tell you the truth that in contrast to the Thatcher-Major era, in every year of the Labour Government, Lincolnshire County Council has received an inflation busting rise in grant for local services. In the past two years alone, we have received a 15 per cent increase in grant from Whitehall. That's fifteen per cent.

In addition, Labour has given Lincolnshire £30 million to set up and run 36 SureStart childrens centres helping to give youngsters the best possible start in life - including one right here in the Deepings which my daughter Claire and baby Jack attended just this afternoon.

(When I alluded to this figure in the council chamber, a Tory 'grandee' attempted to correct me by saying: 'surely Councillor Dilks, you mean £30 million for the whole country, not just for Lincolnshire...' Er, no, check it out: £30 million just for Lincolnshire!

And while we'd all like more of course, the fact is that millions of pounds more have flowed into our county over the past decade to improve local services - which ironically, local Tories then take credit for.

Despite the Tory hype, Home Office funding for policing in Lincolnshire has gone up from under £50 million a year under the Tories to over £70 million this year.

So what would a change of Government mean for Lincolnshire...?

Thanks to David Cameron's health spokesman Andrew Lansley letting the cat out of the bag yesterday, we now know that if the Tories were ever in charge again, we'd return to eye-watering cuts in vital public services.

We already knew that Cameron's cuts already revealed would mean one in five SureStarts would have to close and Labour's plan to rebuild every Lincolnshire secondary school would have to be scrapped.

But the 10-per-cent across the board cuts that Mr Lansley has now disclosed would mean at least 180 fewer police in Lincolnshire.

That's just the start of it.

I'm not an economist, but it seems right to me that Labour are continuing to invest in public services through difficult times. It seems sensible that taking action now to invest in services - and jobs - and keep people in their homes, will help our country recover quicker and come out of the world downturn stronger. History surely tells us that Tory cuts now would make the recession deeper and last longer.

The fact that Mr Ten Per Cent Cameron's top priority for the economy is tax cuts for a few millionaires tells me all I need to know: Mr Cameron is a slick salesman, but behind the gloss and spin, they're not on the side of ordinary people like me.

But then, they never have been!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An experts view on Surestart....

Hardly a resounding endorsement. The evaluation itself is hedged with qualifiers, making plain that none of the improvements are dramatic. Also in the 2008 report, the comparison group (who didn’t go to Sure Start) were taken from the Millennium Cohort Study. So this is not strictly comparable in terms of time, or methodology. In the damning 2006 study, the comparisons were current and part of same survey and therefore more likely to be giving a true picture. I’d still argue that Sure Start is a huge waste of money which would have been much better spent on direct intervention in the worst case households. The government is belatedly realising this, hence ‘nurse-family partnerships’ now being piloted which unlike ‘non-stigmatising’ Sure Start, are based on something that worked in USA