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Friday, 22 May 2015

Budget is focus

THE Leader’s column has returned and I hope my reader is still around to read my ramblings, and on occasions, rants.

EM Dave Pidduck column
Dave Pidduck

As the administration of the council we continue with our budget strategy, we are almost halfway through this process, and after the initial scare of a 17 per cent cut, the fourth biggest in the country, we are now bringing the strategy back on target.

This year the government have introduced a new funding arrangement for Local Government and an already complicated process isn’t helped by frequent revisions to figures even on the day of the announcement.

Is it just me, but you would think that central government would get its figures right on the most important day in the Local Government calendar.

A separate announcement offers the council The Efficiency Support Grant, of approximately one million pounds for each of the next two years. We are looking at the detail of this offer before making a decision.

The news for the public sector seems to be as depressing as ever, the latest predictions from the government indicate massive job losses, however, it appears that those who loose their jobs can form private companies and take over the role of the public sector.

Now, this may work for a while, but my mind is drawn back to those dark days of Thatcher’s government, when they de-regulated the buses and her infamous quote about public choice.

We now live with giant private sector companies that you and I have little or no control over, if it doesn’t make a profit its shut down. Will we wind up with large private sector companies running every sector of our lives?

I take this opportunity to salute the excellent work carried out by the Save our Maternity Unit Group. It is without doubt an important victory, but we must be vigilant, our hospital is so important at all levels of care and there are people out there who would, if they could, remove other services. We must campaign to retain all our services and bring others back to Barrow.

The isolation of our borough/constituency makes us both vulnerable, and at the same time, special.

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