Let us say how our cash is spent

We are constantly told by our politicians that there is less and less money around and that cutbacks and rationalisation are the new watchwords for our way of life.

Sunday, 9th April 2017, 3:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:02 pm
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Phrases like, ‘new ways of working’ and ‘shared services’ have become the norm, as government slashes the cash it gives to our councils, whilst the demand on its services increases. Our bills continue to rise but our pot gets ever smaller, so is it time we had a debate on exactly where our priorities lie and where, whatever pennies we have in our pockets, should be spent.

I mean, alongside the important things like social care, the war on Spain and new British passports, what other areas would you want to splash out on? If money is so tight (our money by the way) should we be re-fitting Buckingham Palace or re-upholstering the leather seats for the Lords to fall asleep on? Should we be spending billions on a slightly faster choo choo train to Birmingham or ensuring our grandmas and grandads have proper care later in life? These are real debates that we should be having right now before MPs spend the leccy money on the horses and we are left with no food in the larder.

Your focus may be on fixing our crumbling roads, although that might be a bit late for one Ferrari driver from Stamford, whose car fell into the Ufford chasm, costing Peterborough City Council £10,000 in compensation – money that they can ill afford to give away in this climate.

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The MP for South East Cambridgeshire, Lucy Fraser, wants you to fork out to protect our heritage, with the county’s two cathedrals top of her list for Bob to fix for future generations. At present both Peterborough and Ely are self-funding, but both are struggling financially, with Peterborough having to call in auditors and make people redundant, just to stay afloat.

One expert claimed on the BIG Conversation, on Radio Cambridgeshire, that just about every place of worship in the county was in danger of falling into disrepair, without constant help. But attendances at Sunday services are down a third since the 1960s and just 1.4% of the population now visits an Anglican church, so should public money be used to prop up something that the public doesn’t support?

Or should the Church of England, one of the biggest landowners in the country, be forced to put their hands in their pockets and get their own houses of worship in order?

Maybe churches are the Woolworths and BHS of the future; organisations that the public fell out of love with, who became irrelevant in the modern age, doomed to fail. Or perhaps heritage is more important for you than religion and like the banks, churches and cathedrals are too important for the nation to allow them to turn to dust; just imagine walking through the gate into the precincts to see our beautiful cathedral, on it’s knees, crumbling and crying out to be saved.

Would you heed it’s desperate call for help or spend the money on housing for the homeless? Increasingly these are the impossible choices governments and councils are having to make, I think it’s time that we had a say too.

This is our money, our city, our services and our life – our voice needs to be heard.