EDP Letters: No Plan for Cuts

Writing to the Editor of the Eastern Daily Press, Conservative Tom Garrod says the "Rainbow Alliance" has no plan for the cuts it is making.

"Within your article "Committee warned of growing shortfall" (EDP, 24th June), the Labour Leader of Norfolk County Council George Nobbs was quoted to have said "We all have a difficult journey before us, to protect the people of Norfolk, and the services they rely on..." I'm afraid to say I felt that this was somewhat misleading and made light of the severe financial forecasts the council faces within the next 5-6 years.

To put this into context, over the past three years the previous Conservative Administration at County Hall faced £140m reduction in Government Grant and now this Labour/ UKIP/ Liberal Democrat Administration faces  a further £189m over the next three.

The presentation to the Policy and Resources committee which your article referred to set out quite clearly that the financial situation the council faces goes beyond the planned reductions in the next two years and will continue to deepen at least until the end of the next Parliament in 2020.

Meanwhile, we have a multi-party administration working with these reductions in Local Government grants that are so concerned with the day-to-day politics of keeping the political parties on side that nobody has stopped to ask the question "what will Norfolk County Council look like beyond 2020?" To be clear, the amount of services the County Council provides will need to severely reduce.

It is especially in these difficult times of austerity, the people who elected us are expecting real local political leadership and a vision.

George Nobbs' quote that he wants to "protect" services in their current form suggests that he and his administration are incapable of being brave; and radical; and giving people the real strong political leadership that Norfolk expects in these tough times of austerity as the parties are so ideologically different.

Instead of offering Norfolk a vision, the rainbow administration is based upon a series of political manoeuvres.  Upon taking office, the Administration sighted three main objectives: Excellence in education, Real jobs, and Good infrastructure. These are all well and good and are so broad they are difficult to disagree with. But there is no plan to deal with the forthcoming cuts in Government funding and the resulting overhaul of services that will be required until at least 2020.

Councillor Tom Garrod
Conservative Norfolk County Councillor for Wroxham Division"