Paul Stainton: ’Ullo John! Gotta new motor?

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host -
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host -
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You can’t spend what you haven’t got, unless of course you are the Chancellor of the Exchequer or a man from Nigeria who you have kindly emailed your bank details to.

It’s simple economics and applies to the majority of us normal folk – If your income drops, then so too must your outgoings.

Many people reading this will have lost a job recently or endured a cut to their benefits, let’s face it, the majority of us have been forced to tighten our belts and adjust our spending habits over the last few years.

Our monthly trips to Tesco’s and Morrison’s have been replaced with less frequent ones to the likes of Aldi and Lidl, whilst Ebay, Amazon and other online retailers have benefited greatly from our thirst for value.

There is nothing like necessity to focus the mind on the things that we actually need and their worth to our everyday lives.

It’s the same at the Town Hall too where Councillor Seaton has been belt tightening (those January diets do work) and balancing the budgie, sorry budget, in order to fill the £24m black hole that the government has very kindly dug for our city.

Their plan basically involves putting up council tax, adding even more debt to the mountain in the clouds that our children will one day have to pay back and ramping up parking charges at the majority of council car parks – That last one should really bring the punters flocking back into town on a Saturday afternoon!

The council are also cutting spending on this year’s Christmas lights, although I worry, because last year’s effort resembled the leftovers from a Xmas jumble sale and apparently they spent good money on that.

Perhaps we all need to chip in and do our bit to save Peterborough’s Christmas this year. I have some crepe paper in the loft and I am sure we could organise a bring a bauble party. If anybody has a decent tree in the garden that would be appreciated, I am sure.

However, it’s not all cut, cut, cut – They have found a hundred grand down the back of the cabinet’s settee to pay for a city wide spring clean, although if it were me I would offer a brush and shovel to the mucky beggars who made the mess in the first place. Failing that, name and shame them on the front of this paper.

Half of the four per cent rise in council tax will at least be spent on those that have paid their fair share in to the system - Adults who need social care.

Hopefully Peterborough City Council can use this money to end the shameful practice of fifteen minute, home care visits, for the frail and the infirm.

How anybody can receive decent care in that time is beyond me, when they need feeding, washing and dressing. I struggle to shower and get dressed myself in that time, never mind have a cup of tea, some breakfast and a quick chat. Sometimes all people want is a chat.

Maybe they could get the Mayor, John Peach, to pop round and keep people company in his new, six thousand pounds a year, council lease car (not supplied by a fellow councillor).

The old one needs expensive repairs apparently and it is claimed that this will save money in the short term. But how much more could they have saved if they had bought him a bike?

If it’s good enough for John Barry, the green Mayor of Lancaster, surely it’s good enough for the Mayor in a city with aspirations to be the environment capital of the UK?

I know it would be a difficult choice, but we have all had to make a few of those recently.