The sweeping cuts being made by Blackburn Council’s Tory led administration, announced in today’s Lancashire Telegraph (1st July 2010) show their complete failure not only to understand the needs of the local community but also to stick up for Blackburn in Westminster.
The cuts will have a massively damaging effect on those most in need – take Shadsworth with Whitebirk for instance – one of Britains top ten most deprived wards – it faces losing two community centres and a leisure centre, on top of this the Blakewater College is due to close under Building Schools for the Future – so the ward will have no community facilities at all.
All community centres in the Borough are facing closure – and surprise surprise they are situated in wards represented mainly by Labour Councillors. The fact is the Tories simply don’t care about these communities because they can’t win any elections there. In this years’ Council elections they didn’t even bother standing candidates in most of them.
Not only this though, the cuts being made are terrifyingly shortsighted. Many of the problems of high crime and vandalism that we have experienced were as a result of the last period of Tory government when there was no investment in schools, the police or communities. Labour did invest which is why we now have the highest ever school standards and the lowest crime for almost 30 years.
It’s a well known fact that Blackburn is one of the most deprived communities in England and its funding from Government reflects that fact. However, under George Osborne’s proposals the Council is forced to make higher cuts than almost every other authority in Britain – at the same time as authorities represented by Tory Ministers which have to make no cuts at all.
Yet when there was a Council meeting following the ’emergency’ budget the Tory and Lib Dem members in Blackburn refused to back Labour’s motion demanding that the national spending cuts be shared out fairly and equally.
We all know what the Tory answer to this mess is – ‘it’s Labour’s fault’. Change the record please – in Blackburn the Tories have now been in power for over 3 years – they’ve had massive amounts of money allocated by the then Labour Government yet they have failed to use that money responsibly. We now have a Tory government which has asked its Tory chumps in Blackburn to make massive cuts – Council Leader Mike Lee must be saying thanks a bunch to his pals David Cameron, Nick Clegg and George Osborne!