We need to look at who is to blame for the crisis which is enveloping Coventry’s people because of massive and unprecedented cuts to the Council’s finances. And, we need to look at solutions to this crisis as well.
One thing is crystal clear: the Tories do not have the answers to solve the problems the country now has thanks to 5 years of their government. The Tories claim to be the party of economic competence yet the facts prove something far more sinister.
They are tribal, they are conceited and they have no idea of the damage they are inflicting on ordinary people up and down our land. Or maybe they do?
Let’s examine the evidence.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that families have lost £1,127 a year on average as a result of tax and benefit changes. Since 2010 working people have seen their wages fall by £1,600. This Parliament is set to be the first one since the 1920s where working people are worse off at the end of the Parliament than they were at the beginning.
In April 2013 David Cameron gave a £3 billion a year tax cut and slashed the 50p rate of tax to 45p meaning a further £42,000 tax cut to the richest one per cent.
At the same time ordinary families are paying hundreds of pounds more thanks to the Government’s decision to raise VAT to 20 per cent on top of another 24 Tory tax rises since 2010.
Let us though look closer to home. The figures outlined today speak for themselves. And it’s not just the Council.
The Police are closing stations, the ambulance service haven’t hit their response times since 2010 and the Chief Fire Officer in the West Midlands is now warning that 8% cuts this year and next will mean the 5 minute emergency response time is at risk.
This is the Tories in action: putting the public at risk.
There is though a solution to the crisis which is unfolding before our eyes due to the Tories mismanagement.
We can give real devolution to our city by not just giving extra powers but by letting Local Government use the powers they already have!
By giving them the opportunity to raise money instead of going cap in hand to an unsympathetic government would mean real accountability.
Instead, we have the idiotic policy which forces our Fire Service having to consider going to a referendum, costing £1,000,000 to run, to ask the public to increase their proportion of council tax by about 20p per week to ensure a safe service, with no guarantee of a positive outcome.
That is I’m afraid, the direct result of an out of touch and utterly preposterous Minister, Eric Pickles and his desire to grind local government and local people into the dust whilst at the same time spending £500,000 on Ministerial cars to ferry his ample behind around whilst telling everybody else that they must tighten their belts.
No, the Tories know precisely what they are doing!
Labour can overcome this though.
It is possible to prioritise and say we can properly finance both the NHS and our other public services because the public need them and it is the right thing to do.
In conclusion, Britain is a rich country that has wealth but it must be directed in the cause of social change rather than towards rich bankers, socialites and right wing vested interests.
In a modern, caring and more equal society, we can afford 8,000 more doctors and 20,000 more nurses.
We can afford a doctor’s appointment within 48 hours and we can afford cancer tests within one week.
We can afford our libraries and children’s centres and we can afford to protect our old, our infirm and our young.
The battle lines are drawn and the future direction of the country is at stake. Let us offer hope over Tory despair, optimism over pessimism and truth over lie.
Let us give the public something to really believe in, get behind and embrace. We can have a brighter future. Let us say that and let us fight for that.