P eterborough City Council is providing more and more services, but with less and less government funding, writes Steve Lane, Werrington First councillor.
The Leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr John Holdich, estimates that by 2019 Peterborough will have had 80% shaved from its Revenue Support Grant in the past seven years, and he says that by then he doubts if there will be any ability to deliver the level of service that people currently receive.
On Monday, November 20, he launched his campaign to “Stand up for Peterborough”, calling on residents, businesses, the council, community groups and organisations to join him and to email, tweet or write in to the Town Hall to support a demand, from government, for a fairer funding formula to deliver what the government itself has ordered.
Most of our political leaders have joined him and I am proud to say that I will stand amongst them, and happy to confirm that in this area, for the time being, there is a moratorium being called on political hostilities. The sense of comradeship on this matter is both voluntary and mutual, and I think it is simply because we did not become councillors to cut services. We did so to make a difference in our communities, to help the most vulnerable and support the council in delivering public services.
But that is a task that has been made increasingly difficult by government since 2010, and even more so now, as we prepare for next year’s budget. Personally, I’m not sure that Peterborough City Council could survive much more austerity. I believe we are reaching the point where there is very little fat left to protect the bone, and that pretty soon there may have to be cuts in non-essential services. Furthermore, without help in the near future I don’t know how long even these will survive, but guess that once that layer is stripped bare the bone may start to crumble.
Vital services, such as caring for the elderly, protecting children, collecting bins, filling potholes and maintaining our parks and green spaces, will simply struggle to continue unless government recognises Peterborough is growing beyond all expectations and that demands on its services still have to be met, but with a shrinking budget.
I am joining others to say enough is enough. Please help us and Stand Up for Peterborough.
Let us show unity in numbers and say “No more cuts” and protect our vital services. Tell Cllr Holdich you are behind him and his campaign for fairer funding.
More details can be found by following @PeterboroughCC on Twitter and Facebook.