I don’t know what to say
A lot of ink will be spilled commenting on today’s CSR; some will be deeply informed commentary and some will be scare mongering rubbish.
To be honest at times like these there isn’t much new to add so I won’t write an essay:
Here are three things that spring to mind:
1) George Osborne talked of protecting crucial front-line services and yet there is a 25% cut for local government; which bit of local government does he actually think is not a front line service
2) The cuts for Local Government are spread with a saving of 7.1% per year for the next four years. My fear is two fold…
a) Firstly, that this will encourage local authorities to take the ‘easy’ option and look for salami slicing of their services each year. This will mean bad decisions get made and the wrong posts get deleted in order to minimise disruption. The same applies to Osborne’s commitment to lose the jobs through natural wastage. Instead of making rational decisions about our future needs we’ll just be winging it and hoping the right people leave or retire. I fear it might lead to badly managed services when what we need in a time of austerity is better managed services.
b) Secondly, the cuts hanging over us will not provide an improved service or lead to better decision making. Instead, the horror of what we have gone through this year will be repeated again and again.
3) Despite all this, and the questions it raises we are no closed to knowing totally what will happen to the council. As my Chief Exec pointed out:
These reductions are in line with what we had expected and have been planning for, but it is now up to the DCLG to decide how best to manage and distribute this spending within their areas of responsibility. At a local level it will be some time before we can identify exactly what this will mean for xxxxx’s budgets and more clarity will come in early December when the local government finance settlement figures are announced.
Even now, we still don’t know fully what to expect… It’s the uncertainty that is killing me…