Since coming to power in 2010 the Tory-led Government in Westminster has been cutting too far and too fast but the cuts themselves are being felt in communities like Medway and across Kent.
The Local Government Association said councils suffered a 28% cut in the funding they get from central government between 2010/11 and 2014/15 but the difficult work of deciding which essential local services have to be cut falls to individual councils.
Unfortunately, those central government cuts have hit some areas harder than others with Cameron, Clegg and Osborne aiming the biggest cuts at the most deprived communities instead of reflecting where resources are most needed.
Councils in urban cities and London boroughs with high levels of deprivation, have seen their budgets cut by almost 10 times the amount lost by mostly Tory-administered authorities in Surrey and beyond
Here in Medway, we are losing £56 per person but David Cameron’s local authority of West Oxfordshire is losing just £34.33 per person. This pattern is repeated across the country, with members of the Tory-led Government protecting their own communities whilst the more deprived areas are left to fend for themselves and deal with much larger cuts to their budgets.
Councils such as Medway - who have suggested a tax rise today - are having to make really tough decisions about which essential services to cut because Cameron’s Tory-led Government has massively reduced the amount of funding local councils receive from central government. As if that weren’t unfair enough, the Tories and their Lib Dem allies are deliberately targeting the areas that can least afford these enormous cuts and hitting them hardest.
It is sad though that our Medway Conservatives have not bothered to consult with residents and small business about the 2% tax rise proposed, and nor have they been honest about the gerrymandering of funding. Instead we have had briefing of select papers and no consulting with those most impacted about the priorities. The rise in Council Tax also does not take into account the Pickles Poll Tax rise which could see vulnerable people taxed upto 30% more in some areas like Medway from April next year.
Not so long ago the Government claimed “we’re all in this together” but with each passing day this seems more and more like a bad joke. In their determination to enforce a reckless cuts programme that goes too far and too fast, the Tories have slashed local council budgets but instead of spreading the load, they have deliberately targeted the communities that can least afford it, and it’s areas like Medway and those most vulnerable within it, that are paying the price.