Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hard and Fast

So that was the emergency budget then and as we might have guessed, VAT will have to go up to 20% in January, to claw back, in part at least, the hidden £12 billion or more that the last Labour government kept out of the books. In fact, the Treasury was so bare when they left office that even the most hardened political mouse would struggle to survive.

Elsewhere, the budget cuts are starting to fall hard and fast. Pro-rata, they appear to be falling hardest on those areas that have the highest levels of deprivation because, they relied so much upon them in the past. My guess is that it will take six months before the public start to realize what austerity really means to them, as local government comes to terms with the new financial landscape and some people if not everyone, will be very unhappy with the result. However, on a local basis, people may begin to grasp that council tax only covers a relatively modest proportion of the running costs of providing hundreds of different services through the Town Hall of any community and that the greater balance comes from County and Central Government in terms of grants, which in a number of cases since May 6th, no longer exist.

Both rich and poor, young and old, none of us will remain untouched by the consequences of the utter recklessness of the last decade. Gordon Brown started with our private pensions and effectively destroyed the best personal pension system in the world and having pawned-away our Gold as well, he left us as the most indebted nation in Europe weighed-down by an almost unimaginable burden of public sector deficit. I do note though that the new Chancellor has moved-on from the blame game to the challenge of balancing the books within the term of this new coalition government.

I was sent a new 'Blog' link earlier. It's a page devoted to the old Ramsgate airport. I'm too young to remember it but I do know some people with very happy memories of flying in and out of there.

The world, I suppose, stops for the England vs. Slovenia game this afternoon. All except council business of course; the show must go on and let's all hope that the England squad finally pulls some inspiration out of a previously lackluster performance and doesn't follow the disgraced French team home to Europe with a second class airline ticket and a nation's football hopes disappointed for another four years!


Peter Checksfield said...

Several Thanet schools are finishing early for the football today! This hardly prepares them for the future (no wonder so many people skive off work!).

Anonymous said...

As you're always saying Thanet is one of the most deprived areas in the country, shouldn't you be lobbying your Tory masters for the national insurance tax break to be applied here too? They have left the south east out on the assumption that it's all flowing over with prosperity. Baldy Hague came here during the election campaign, he should know. Or doesn't the Tory party allow dissent?

DrM. said...

I'm sure there's considerable lobbying going on! The problem is that the South East is considered generically prosperous, as opposed, say, to the North East and a broad brush is being used in the Treasury.

ascu75 aka Don said...

I agree with you Simon we suffer as being Rich as Southport gets called poor disparities will always occur. You are right I think in it being about six months before we start realizing 'stuff aint there any more' but I cant see any oother way of balancing the books

Michael Child said...

The trouble is Simon that here in Thanet we seem to do badly under both parties, nationally and locally, I don’t think this is particularly intentional but much more down to misunderstanding this area.

Funds when they are found seem to aimed in areas where they just are not appropriate KCC et al and the Turner contemporary is a case in point and yes I am aware that this money wouldn’t have been spent on anything else here, but nonetheless this is public money, a very large amount of public money, that seems most likely to saddle us with a white elephant that we can’t afford to run. TDC finding £2m for The Dreamland Heritage Park, it was pretty obvious, with the recent steam fair, that it takes a day for private enterprise to put up amusements on the site and that the car park, that I believe is to be built on as part of the plan, is critical both to any tourist attraction there and the prosperity of the town.

The trouble with council tax is this isn’t really the true picture, as what really happens is that out business rates go up to central government and are then sent back to us, the disadvantage of this system is that there is no real incentive left for local government to ensure that businesses survive.

One Thanet problem that needs addressing now is the extra costs of the people dumping, by this I mean that councils from outside of Thanet have dumped many of their problem people here. This appears to have been followed by the council addressing the complaints from people in residential parts of Thanet by redumping the problem people in the town centres, particularly Ramsgate, probably because since the 24 hour drinking and the late night takeaways being relicensed by the council to 4am the town centres are such undesirable places to live.

The schools as you know have started to complain and now I am finding that I and other retailers are being effected, I discussed this recently with a group of youths who were being disruptive outside my shop. The question I asked them was. “When you grow up do you hope to get a job in Ramsgate?” The answer to this was. “Yes.” So I asked them. “If your general behaviour is seen as threatening by the older people coming here to spend money in the shops in Ramsgate, from other places in the area, how did they think this would effect their future job prospects? Even they seemed to take the point, however I am not so sure that I can get the message across to government at any level.

DrM. said...

I can confirm that the two MPs have written as previously suggested and that I understand that areas of particular deprivation may be examined separately once the broad brush strokes of policy have been applied.

Either way the size of the budget cuts required will have a dramatic impact on councils across the land and all authorities need to have a much firmer idea of what council services local people regard as absolute priorities because others will face harsh examination under the fiscal spotlight.