Political Battle Lines Drawn
So, here I can present to you, what you can expect from the conservatives if they continue to run (down) New Forest District Council in future years.
Despite the managed decline that we have seen in recent years, resulting from austerity cuts, the Tories have plans to cut back in further.
This graph shows you all you need to know about the funding situation.
The Tory government is going to reduce the funding to the District Council still further over the next five years, expecting the council to somehow manage with half the funding that it used to receive.
The problem is greatly enhanced by the fact that we have already seen redundancies and cut backs every year since 2010.
Many of the obvious savings have already been made.
Yesterday, the Tory Leader of the Council told his fellow Councillors that he was “up for the challenge” and wanted to continue delivering great services with no increase to Council taxes.
If he had allowed me to, I would have mentioned all the money wasted on the dreadful beach huts scheme (£1.2 million), the devolution plans that went nowhere and his refusal to make savings by reducing the number of Councillors (£400k).
What this shocking graph does not do is show you exactly what services are now going to be cut.
Generally, Liberal Democrats are much more inclined to protect public services and the jobs that go with them, even if it means raising council tax, especially for the wealthiest.
A good start would be asking all the second home owners in the New Forest to pay full council tax.
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We carried out some scrutiny today into actions taken by Southern Health NHS Trust, following examples of neglect and inappropriate standards of care which, in some cases, led to the death of patients in their care.