This is a letter to the Swindon Advertiser in response to comments by a Tory Councillor about cutting the local Day Care service.
Peter Mallinson is being disingenuous when he says that the reason Swindon Council is considering closing one of the day care centres is to “move with the times”. This proposal, as with the threat to the play service, is entirely financially driven.
As the story of the Osbourn family, recounted in the Adver, shows, closing one of these centres will have a detrimental impact in the quality of life for people who use it, and their families. As Mr Osbourn said, adults with learning difficulties often depend upon a set routine. The idea of providing a service in different places from day to day is ludicrous. In bringing forward this proposal the Council has ensured a period of anxiety for vulnerable people, and the staff.
It is ironic that when the previous government was in power the Conservative administration was quick enough to blame that government for cuts, complaining that it was under-funding Swindon. Yet now they have accepted tens of millions of cuts from their government without protest. In accepting this austerity agenda they are happy to butcher services, many of which are provided for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the disabled.
The decision of the coalition government to institute this level of cuts is ideological. Cameron has said that he would not reinstate spending for the public services even ‘after the current crisis is over’. It is ‘free market’, ‘small state’ dogma.
It is also economic lunacy. Sacking 1,000 council workers can do nothing else but depress the local economy. More than 8,000 unemployed are chasing 1,400 vacancies in Swindon. Where are they supposed to get jobs?
The crisis we face is not the result of too much spending in the public sector. It is the result of deregulation of banking and the financial markets. The ‘big state’ is fine and dandy to bail out the banks, but now we are expected to pay the cost of this bail out with massive job and service cuts.
These cuts are not inevitable, nor necessary. They are the result of Tory dogma. If they really want to cut waste they could start with Trident, the ‘health market’, loans to private companies, and spending money on ‘consultants’ to tell them what to cut.