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LETTER: Pendle’s financial ship is sinking

THE latest GDP figures did not come as a surprise to most, but they did highlight that, as a country, we now stand on the precipice of entering the uncharted waters of a triple dip recession.

The lack of growth will result in further cuts by central government as they continue to ignore the advice of many leading economists and continue on to steer the ship in to the economic abyss. So what will this mean for the good people of Pendle?

Well Lord Greaves has highlighted that Pendle Council is facing cuts of 17% for 2013 with worse to come in 2014-2016 despite the Government’s claims no council would be hit with cuts higher than 8.5% this year. He explained the budget was £13m. in 2009 and will be reduced to £7m. in 2014, concluding the system for local council funding is so crazy nobody could make it up.

As we all know, that is simply not true, because it has been dreamed up by the crew manning the Westminster destroyer, which is causing the tidal waves among council budgets. The crew is made up of Tories propped up by the Lib Dems in much the same fashion as Pendle Council itself.

Steering the ship from the galley is none other than the community secretary Eric Pickles himself, with fingers firmly in the biscuit barrel demanding more cuts. He wants council tax frozen, yet expects the good ship Pendle to continue sailing along with no loss of the services local people want and deserve.

Just how he proposes to do this is beyond me; perhaps our MP Andrew Stephenson could enlighten the people of Pendle how this will be achieved given that he, along with Pendle Council leader Joe Cooney, agreed with the cuts.

Mr Stephenson was quoted as saying “this is a good financial settlement for Pendle”. His view of the situation appears to be based on his submission that it could have been worse had he and Coun. Cooney not lobbied for Pendle to be allowed to bid for an efficiency support grant which could be worth up to £949,000.

While it has been a while since I was at school, I have still managed to retain basic arithmetic skills provided to me when I sat my GCSEs, although I must admit you do not need to be a mathematician to work out that £13m. minus £7m. plus £949,000 leaves a shortfall of just over £5 m..

Finally, although 2012 marked the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, with all its connections to Pendle, I fear that with the current captains at the helm continuing to navigate us both locally and nationally on the proverbial Zambezi heading towards Victoria Falls, it is only a matter of time before Pendle is once again associated with another sinking ship.

MARK PORTER

LCC Labour Candidate,

Pendle West

 

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