Just how much more can be cut?

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

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

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Osborne Scissor hands may be popular with his fellow Tory MPs in the House of Commons but news of yet more slashing cuts to council budgets will surely have been greeted with dismay by local Conservatives in the Town Hall in Peterborough.

A further 5% cut may not seem like much, but to continue the film analogy, it may prove to be “A Bridge Too Far”, when it comes to safeguarding vital services in this city.

The so called, “Low hanging fruit” has long since been cultivated and you don’t need to be Yoda (clever, I am) to see the damage that those cuts have already done to the city.

We are already searching high and low, “For A Few Dollars More,” to fill the existing multi-million pound funding shortfall and without a bit of Harry Potter-style magic from someone, the hole we are in, will only get bigger and the cuts to services, ever deeper.

Never mind “Choose Life,” we will be choosing between our children and our old folk, because we won’t be able to afford to look after everyone, if these cutbacks continue, year in, year out.

The Hills will not be alive with the sound of grass cutters - Instead the parks and hedgerows will become wild, overgrown wastelands as the mowers sit quietly rusting, like some huge “Transformer” like shrine to the age of austerity.

Battered, unloved buses that look like extras from a Mad Max movie will run on Mondays and Thursdays, if they can scavenge the diesel, whilst trains will only stop at Peterborough on a Friday.

Our streets will resemble a scene from “Apocalypse Now” as rubbish blows freely in the breeze and overflowing bins remain un-emptied - A bi-product of the council’s decision to spend more money on protecting vulnerable children and care for the elderly.

Only the “Usual Suspects” will venture out after dark as the bulbs are removed from all of the street lamps and the city is plunged into an eerie, de facto curfew. You will find Brian roaming the streets of course, but then he is a very naughty boy.

Things will get even worse when Cambridgeshire police are forced to sell off their last remaining police car to fund yet another assistant for the Police and Crime Commissioner. They struggle to “Carry on Policing” altogether when they find out the new assistant is Bernard Bresslaw.

I paint a gloomy, tongue in cheek picture, of a future that has yet to happen, but like Doc and Marty Mcfly, I have glimpsed a version that may yet come to fruition, unless we change the present.

Of course I realise that we have a mountain of debt to pay back but life has to be more than just an existence.

How much more can you cut from council budgets before they become redundant and unable to perform even the most basic of tasks?

This is our money, collected in taxes and somewhere, somehow we have to draw a line and tell them to whistle before something approaching my vision becomes a reality.

“You do know how to whistle don’t you?”