Thursday, 12 November 2015

Cameron Hypocrite or Out of Touch?

There have been many cases of hypocrisy  by politicians  over cuts to services where they vote them through  and then cal for them not to cut them in their own constituencies .

It is questionable whether Prime Minister Davis Cameron is being  hypocritical or just out of touch in the row over a leaked correspondence with the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire county council (which covers his own constituency), where Cameron  expresses his horror at the cuts being made to local services. 

 In leaked correspondence with the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire county council (which covers his own constituency), David Cameron expresses his horror at the cuts being made to local services

 In his letter to Mr Hudspeth – which was sent in September but has only now emerged –  Mr Cameron wrote: 

“I was disappointed at the long list of suggestions floated to make significant cuts to frontline services. “I would have hoped that Oxfordshire would instead be following the best practice of Conservative councils from across the country in making back-office savings and protecting the frontline.”
The letter also claimed the county council’s net expenditure, excluding schools, rose from £341m in 2009/10 to £438m this year

In his reply which yo can read in full here  Mr Hudspeth points out that the council has already culled its back-office functions, slashing 40% of its most senior staff and 2,800 jobs in total, with the result that it now spends less on these roles than most other counties. He explains that he has already flogged all the property he can lay hands on, but would like to remind the prime minister that using the income from these sales to pay for the council’s running costs “is neither legal, nor sustainable in the long-term since they are one-off receipts”.
Is Cameron being Hypocritical or out of touch ? Probably a bit of both . What the Tories  alongside their former Liberal Democrats coalition Partners (quick reminder to Peter Black here) have ben doing for the last 5 years have been cutting funding from Local authorities who then have no option but to make swinging cuts . The belief probably being that voters then blame the council when their Library or Leisure centre closes and not the Westminster Government.

Cameron  has however long believed in  his "big society" drive to empower communities, describing it as his "great passion".

In a speech in Liverpool, inn July 2010 the prime minister said groups should be able to run post offices, libraries, transport services and shape housing projects. 

It is surprising therefore that Cameron has not used the opportunity to suggest that Oxfordshire implement his Big Society.
Or ca it be out of touch as the Prime Minister  he realises that it is not that simple . Though he apparently believes  that cuts in even leafy Oxfordshire can be made by selling of the family jewels in the form of buildings.

But if "leafy" Oxfordshire  are struggling what  of those councils which are already poorer and have an higher expenditure on welfare provision within their own area?

What this row has exposed that even Tory Council leaders in our Town Halls are finding that they have reached the limit of the cuts they need to make even if they have been enthusiasts for doing so in the past 5 years.

As I have argued part of the reason the Tories and Lib Dems  wanted to push these cuts on our Local Authorities is that they believed blame will be placed on local council leaders and not Westminster.

But it may well be that people will be questioning whose to rely blame when their Library, leisure Centre Children's play group  closes  and look where it originated.

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