Imagine what you would feel like if you were robbed and then the robber blames you for the robbery.
I think we would all feel incensed, well that is exactly what is happening to us all.
I feel quite angry that the Conservatives can do what they are doing, filling their pockets with our money at the same time as blaming the council.
The council is funded from three sources, council tax, business rates and government grants which comes from us the taxpayers.
The government are withdrawing grants from councils up and down the country on an unequal basis, with deprived area councils by and large seeing greater cuts in grants than better off areas.
Wakefield is to lose £185m in grants annually over a nine year period.
Coun Geoff Walsh states in his letter last week that we are a tax and spend council, I ask how can that be when the government are removing £185m of spending from us?
This is an unimaginable amount of funding to lose, it is inconceivable that we can continue as normal without having to cut services and as a Labour Council we are placed in an unenviable situation not of our making.
We are seeing spending cuts across the council with more to come, this year we are taking £20m out of adult care services as we struggle to find £61m cuts, given that 60% of council spend is on adult and children’s services, those services can no longer be protected.
We as taxpayers should all feel angry about this.
The vast majority of council spending is ring-fenced to be spent on statutory services; there is very little left that we can cut from.
Coun Walsh rightly states that we put up council tax rather than take the government council tax freeze. We have taken a freeze in the past but the Government only funded the council tax loss for three years.
After that the council had to stand the loss of income and find more cuts to pay for it on top of existing cuts.
He is misleading the public to suggest that we could have balanced the budget this way.
The fact is that we are all still paying our council tax to try to protect some of our services, but a two per cent council tax rise amounts to around £2m while at the same time the Government is taking £185m from us.
Tell me this then, is the council a victim or a perpetrator?
Coun Walsh says the council is dipping into people’s pockets, he has never once complained to his government about the vicious cuts they are making to local government, in fact he supports them, but at the same time he has the gall to blame the council when it has to make tough decisions his party has created.
Coun Walsh will oppose the decisions we have to make because of his party but has no answers to what his party would do if in power.
At the council budget meeting the Tories proposed an amendment that included cuts that had already been agreed, which meant next year we would have had to find additional cuts to make up the difference.
To date we have made £65m of cuts through efficiency savings, we can no longer do that, we have to make a further £61m of cuts over the next two years, with more to follow. I would just say to you all enough is enough.
Coun Graham Stokes