Saturday, 29 January 2011
Cuts and the recession
The cuts are the big news at the minute with the reality of what will go finally emerging. In the County and the the Borough.
This is the first set of budgets that I have seen that have clear evidence that there has a least been an attempt to equality impact assess either through referencing in reports or through full publication like the County Council. However, these documents have clearly been carried out in some haste with some having completely inadequate data sets to inform them. Some of them are very poor pieces of work with others not recognising the leverage that small amounts of investment can have particularly in the voluntary and community sector. Investment of a few thousand for the County Council can assist levering in tens, even hundreds of thousands from other sources for some organisations in this sector. All this at a time when there is in addition to these local cuts decisions, national cuts decisions that are a complete assault on the vulnerable in our communities. This is a must see for all. The disabled women presenting in the film highlights the focus from some in the voluntary and community sector "picking the carcass of the welfare state". It is reference to the hours, often days of time trying to apply for a plethora tenders and contracts to see some future after 31st March rather than putting the kind of energy that is needed to challenge the cuts. All too true. The cuts locally are difficult to see as much of them are hidden in debris of enormity of the cuts. For instance, in the £2,772,000 cut known as SC016 the complete axing of all advice work in the County lies. This will in particular hit Cleggs alarm clock Britain. It is those who have always worked for a living who perhaps now find themselves in hard times through redundancy, ill-heath or bereavement that will feel this the most as the services that have previously guided these people in need through an unfamiliar and complex welfare system disappear.
The recession and the cuts that exacerbate them are about inequality. Figures released last week show only one in five under 24 year olds are in work with an increasing proportion never having experienced work in the last two years. Over 50% of Black under 24 year olds unemployed, our nation is failing an entire generation. Since the Fawcett Society's attempted challenge on the governments budget the case for the gender equality implictions of the cut carries on growing.
So what is the answer? the only one that I can think of is about resistance. There are many ways of doing this, talking planning objecting but overall making the job of implementing cuts as hard as possible. The demonstration on 26th March should be a highlight of the campaign. Why don't you commit to going along too.