Tag Archives: cuts

Suffolk’s NSD – a few sneaky sums

We all know the story  – Suffolk has to make 30% cuts and all because of those naughty bad bankers and the UK’s mountain of inherited debt.



The Lib Dems have discovered that Suffolk county council only needs to make cuts of 11% IN TOTAL over the next four years to balance out the reduction in central government grants. This means cuts of less than 3% a year.

Which means that the administration used their huge Tory majority to  plan cuts that were THREE TIMES  as savage as they needed to be!!!!

How have they managed to spin this? Simple. They expect us to be not very good at our sums and not to check the facts and their figures. Pretty much like someone trying to sell you dodgy double-glazing or an unnecessary insurance policy.

They have estimated that the amount of money they would get from the government will be reduced by 33.3% over 4 years (because of the Comprehensive Spending Review).  That is, they assumed that Suffolk would have to manage on two thirds of the current central government grant.

In point of fact the reduction in central government funding will be just over 26% over four years (not 33.3%) which is much less of a hit. But this is just the thin end of their mathematical shenanigans.

BECAUSE the government grant makes up much less than half of Suffolk County Council’s total income. And the rest of this  income is not going to reduce at all. In some cases it will rise.

When we did the sums, the reduction  in Suffolk’s total income over the next four years  was NOT a big noisy 30%, it was less than 11%. That’s a very big difference when you  are talking about closing and selling off care homes, cutting school crossing patrols and closing the park and ride!

“Masterly Inactivity”: don’t bury your head in the sand!

Although most people I have talked to about Suffolk County Council’s  undemocratic, incoherent, and – worst of all – unbudgeted plans  have been very  keen to express an opinion, a few timid souls feel it safer to stick their heads firmly in the sand and hope everything will just go away.

“Its not happening,” they say. “They’ve not told us what they’re going to do. How can I do anything, when they haven’t told us what they are doing?

This reminds me of that Foreign Office strategy of masterly inactivity described by the great Sir Humphrey:

Stage 1:  There is nothing happening.

Stage 2:  There may be something happening, but we should do nothing about it.

Stage 3:  Maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing that we can do.

Stage 4:  Maybe there is something that we could have done, but it’s too late now.

You can see the massive flaw in this, can’t you?

Unless we press our point firmly enough – it WILL be happening. And the tragedy is, they HAVEN’T told us what they plan to do, In fact it is clear they haven’t the foggiest.

DESPITE THIS, the first tranche of ‘divestments’ are planned to happen in April:  in SIX months time! That is, the planned ‘divestment’ of:

  • Libraries
  • Independent Living Centres (these provide advice and information on equipment which can be used by disabled people)
  • Highway Services
  • Youth clubs, and Integrated Youth Support and Outdoor Education
  • Early Years & Childcare, including Children’s Centres
  • Home First (this is a social care service)
  • Country Parks
  • Transactional property
  • Registrars
  • Suffolk traded services
  • Employment enterprises, learning and careers advice
  • A record office
  • Economic Development
  • Home Shield Plus
  • Hate Crime Service

And what happens if this unplanned, uncosted, unbudgeted, unhinged piece of ideological claptrap fails, and we lose (for example) our highway service? Thats right, the one people love to moan about – the one that (unheralded and unsung) trains all its staff to man gritting lorries so we can have a 24 hour service over the winter?

We suffer, that’s what happens. And we lose people , teams and services that took a long time to train and which will be impossible to replace.. We are, in short, a lot worse off!

Though, come to think of it, thats everybody except for the Chief Executive herself. She doesn’t live in Suffolk!