Meaningless consultation on Tory Cuts?

The Swindon Advertiser reported recently that only 18 people had commented on where the proposed Council cuts should fall.  Residents are being asked to chose between cuts in play services, Connections services, Swindon direct, Country Ground fitness services, daycare services and  supported employment.  but why are these the only cuts being consulted on – when we know much more is planned (libraries, care-homes, road-maintenance, sure-start, rubbish disposal, youth services etc).

Many more cuts are coming, but what is proposed is bad enough:

  • Withdraw the annual Play Service budget and the associated development activities (cutting £142,ooo annually )
  • Cut “Connexions” – a specialist service targeted at those who are not in education, employment or training (saving £712,000 annually)
  • Change the opening hours of the Swindon Direct one-stop-shop to open later and close earlier and stay closed at weekends (saving £45,000 annually)
  • Change the opening hours of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to open 4 days a week rather than 6 (saving £12,000 annually)
  • Close the County Ground Lifestyle Centre with some services moved elsewhere and all indoor services closed- i.e. gym, activity room, consultation room and offices (saving £20,000 annually
  • Cuts in day-care services (saving £750,000 annually)
  • Cuts in the Connect Supported Employment service which helps people with learning and associated disabilities gain employment (saving £235,000 annually)

Comments are being accepted up to 17th September.  I wonder if we are allowed to ask why the cuts (like the 20% VAT tax rise) fall unfairly on the poorest and most disadvantaged in Swindon?  Or why the Government has targeted cuts disproportionately on Swindon?  Or how £45 million cuts over the next 3 years (a 33% reduction!) can be justified when it means loss of jobs and taxes to the Government?  Or why the Council is lending to a Wi-Fi company when our finances are in such dire straits? Or what the 2 local Conservative MPs are doing to fight for Swindon’s interests?  More than 18 people would be interested in answers to those questions….

Cllr Jim Grant (Deputy Leader Labour Group)