A fair deal for Peterborough, please

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

S ometimes you just have to say enough is enough.

I am not talking about X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing (although to be fair both could do with the chop), no, I am talking about austerity.

The cuts, the pain, the unfairness of it all, must end, people just cannot endure any more of it and what’s more it hasn’t worked.

Debt ratios are still at wartime levels, whilst quantitative easing (printing money for bankers) has only helped improve the bank’s profit margins.

Now before I am accused of ‘doing a Darren Fower’ and becoming a fully paid up member of the Corbynistas, let me assure you that I was all for the big bank bail-out – I could see the justification for it and fully understood that things would be difficult for us all for a few years.

Except it hasn’t been difficult for us all, far from it, the majority have endured the pain whilst bankers, financiers and most of the people who helped cause the crisis, have just got richer.

In hindsight, we would have all been better off if the banks had been allowed to fail, that’s what Iceland did and they are doing just fine, thank you very much.

We were all prepared to do our bit and endure lower wages, reduced services and a poorer standard of living but look at the effect that almost 10 years of that medicine has had on a city like Peterborough?

People have been pushed to foodbanks, those on zero-hours contracts are used and abused, changes to benefits have left those with little, with even less and homelessness is on the rise; this is not the sort of society I want to live in, we must fight for fairness for all.

What’s more, we haven’t had the worst of it; elsewhere libraries have closed, leisure centres have disappeared and services that people rely on are no more. Somehow the council here has managed to keep essential services going, despite an 80% cut in their government grant.

But even John Holditch, the Conservative leader of the council, has now had enough and has called on his own government to loosen the purse strings, claiming that any more cuts would only hurt those who are already suffering the most pain.

It cannot be right that London boroughs receive an extra £160 per person in funding when you consider the pressures that this city is under from immigration, increased birth rates and the demands from an increasingly ageing population.

We pay our council tax like everyone else and have a right to expect a certain level of service, a right to demand equality, a right to demand a fair deal.

Any further cuts to local government funding will result in essential services being slashed – schemes for the young and the old will be undermined, bins will go unemptied, potholes unfilled and you will have to buy your own books, as libraries could go the way of Woolworths.

Now is time for everyone who cares about Peterborough to prove it – put up or push 
off.

From the new metro Mayor, to the new MP, whether you are young or old, blue, red or yellow, we must stand together and make our voice heard.

We must tell those in Downing Street that we won’t stand idly by and let our city be dismantled any further and that we will protest when you target the most vulnerable in our society.

It’s time for a ‘Fair Deal for Peterborough’ - For the many and not just the few.

That is a campaign I can get right behind.

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