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Norfolk Coalition Against the Cuts
Norfolk Coalition Against the Cuts
Urgent Consultation ends 12th December
BBC Radio Norfolk interviewed Ed Bober sec of NCAC, on Norfolk County Council's Cuts agenda 5th December 2013.
If you would like to hear what Ed had to say - See http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01lhkmh Ed's segment is 52 mins and 22 seconds into the programme.
You will know that Norfolk County Council is consulting on a range of proposed cuts to meet the Government’s imposed requirement to save £189million over the next three years. The committee of the Retired Members Section has prepared a reply, the conclusions of which are below. Our conclusions relate to the Council’s proposals on page 4 of their “Norfolk – Putting People First” document. The closing date for submissions is December 12th and we want to encourage you in the little time available to:
1. let us know if you believe any of our conclusions are incorrect, and/or
2. reply to the consultation yourself to Norfolk County Council by letter to County Hall,
by phone on 0344 800 8020 or by email to www.citizenspace.com/norfolk/consultation/norfolk-puttin-people-first/consultation
• It is difficult to be convinced that “streamlining”, “rationalising” and similar euphemistic expressions are to be effective given that they have been employed year after year especially after The Big Conversation. Staff numbers have fallen and services have become less reliable while Council Tax has not fallen.
• As usual with such consultations, there is not enough information to be able to reach sensible judgements about each proposal. In particular, the absence of detailed impact assessments is a shortcoming.
• UNISON have asked for Equality Impact Assessments for the Adult Social Care and have been told they will not be done until the New Year! In our view that should have been done before consultation started.
• The outcomes from cuts arising from decisions taken after The Big Conversation were often quite different from the proposals consulted upon. These impacts would have been helpful to the public in making judgements about more cuts in services.
• We have a fundamental objection to an element of council tax being channelled into private profit at the expense of vulnerable people.
• In speaking up for the people of Norfolk we believe the Council should use all of the weight and influence it has [as claimed in the Council’s stated priorities] to promote a national and local debate to secure informed public consent on what services and industries rightly belong in the public sector and which of those public services should then be delivered directly by a publicly elected and accountable body.
• It is not just jobs and services which have been ceded to the private sector. A massive casualty has been the ethos of public service which has been lost in the cynical undervaluing of public servants through reductions in job numbers, remuneration, service conditions, pensions, training and In the last round of cuts, we were assured that our local MPs were working to persuade the Government to redress the formula funding arrangements which were [in 2011] £21M a year. We need to know what happened to this potential £63M+ for the period 2014-2017 [and indeed whether the £155M cuts from the last three years was mitigated by a similar receipt.] None of our Norfolk MPs has voted against the Government’s cuts, UNISON have called on them to stand up for Norfolk.
• We believe the Council should take a radical look, using all the efficiency tools, including those mentioned in this consultation [most effective use of staff, premises, ICT, collaborative working etc], to return as many as possible services to in – house delivery. Savings could be made from the profits of external providers, commissioning, assessment and administration costs. In the quest to compare, contrast and compete, the period for comparison should pre-date the purchaser/provider split which has, in our view, been an unmitigated disaster for the quality, development, volume, accessibility and morale of public services. We believe it is high time to end the “private good, public bad” propaganda which has often resulted in less reliable services with no apparent savings [according to the National Audit Office].
• We urge the Council to consider, in seeking the best services for clients, to create and support real jobs, to improve the local economy and enhance the reputation of Norfolk by rebuilding a social care industry directly owned and managed by the Council employing a workforce properly valued and paid and based on notions of excellence.
• This consultation is the direct result of the policies of the present Government. If any of the pious intentions to stand up for the interests of the people of Norfolk are to be seen as credible, Norfolk County Council must hold our local MPs to account for these cuts and challenge them as members of the coalition Government to stand up for the people of Norfolk and oppose these cuts forcefully and publicly.
• The Council should use its publicity facilities to make sure that the public is aware that the loss of a school crossing patrol is the result of the Government’s support for banks and bankers. Any increase in Council Tax should be placed in the perspective of tax avoidance by major multi-national companies. The redundancies and reduction in services inherent in the proposals should be related to the questionable morality of giants like Capita, G4S and Serco.
• Well-being cannot and will not be delivered by redistribution of NHS funds, by further depressing the value of contracts and the staff who have to deliver them, by releasing the imaginary genie fromthe bottle of communities, by relying on failed procurement practices or by expecting a wealth of philanthropic new businesses to move to Norfolk. There has perhaps not been a better time to grasp the nettle and reverse the destructive culture of competition and out sourcing.It simply does not work for people based public services.
Norfolk UNISON Retired Members’ Newsletter, November 2013
Then by going to this website https://www.citizenspace.com/norfolk/consultation/norfolk-putting-people-first you can tell Norfolk County Council how you would like your cuts delivered by them.
Norfolk County Council's Labour led administration sadly have taken on the role to be the willing broker for the ideological led Coalition Government social policies, resulting in the austerity/cuts agenda. These social policies are designed to reduce or eliminate all public services by privatising all social services, closing respite care facilities, reducing terms and conditions for those delivering essential services (zero hour contracts, minimum wages, etc), and for private companies to make very tidy profits for delivering services so often poor quality for mentally ill, disabled, frail vulnerable people. As the Conservatives lib-dems, UKIP and now by default Labour, all agree with the austerity/cuts policies, Norfolk has been left without any critical opposition to the Government's Austerity - cuts programme. have your say by going to https://www.citizenspace.com/norfolk/consultation/norfolk-putting-people-first
Have your say on
the Austerity Cuts Agenda
The cuts can affect all from any walk of life, if you are a carer for a frail, mentally ill person or disabled people, if you are user of services the cuts will affect you. These cuts are intended to be permanent and have the possibility of affecting all, maybe not now but sometime in the future. If you require social care in the future there is the strong possibility it will have been reduced, more expensive of poor quality or just not be available.
NCAC's position on the Austerity programme is -
"We demand that, instead of meekly complying with the ConDems demands for cuts, that Norfolk County Council set a deficit budget on the assumption that Labour when elected in 18 months will make the rich pay their taxes, which can then be used to repay the deficits of local authorities. If this has legal implications for the council let them (1) test the law, this would make excellent publicity for Labour and (2) even if unsuccessful in a legal challenge, adopt the approach of George Lansbury, Labour leader of Poplar Council in 1921 who lead a revolt against Tory attempts to force local authorities to reduce workers living standards. He is famous for his slogan 'it is better to break the law than break the poor'."