The blame is unfair

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I’ve noted from recent editions of the Sunderland Echo that some correspondents, Conservative Party members and supporters presumably, are seeking to distance Governments cuts to council budgets (a £40million reduction for Sunderland for the financial current year of 2016-17 alone, with more to follow in the coming years) from impacts on the likes of rubbish collection and operation of our parks etc.

Some have even resorted to bringing up old red herrings as examples of wasteful council spending, eg the floating Ambit structure below the Wearmouth Bridge (paid for by the Arts Council, not Sunderland City Council) and the ‘iconic’ new River Wear Bridge (most of the design costs actually paid for by European grants and the Government with Sunderland City Council only paying a minor proportion as would have been the case had the bridge been built and is the case with the bridge now being built).

This reminds me of the Tory’s standard technique for achieving privatisation: de-fund the organisation, demoralise and antagonise the staff, make sure things don’t work, get people angry, propose privatisation to resolve the problems.

Sound familiar? It certainly will to anyone working in the NHS. Of course, it doesn’t work in the long run, just look at the problems with the railways, electricity, gas and water, many operators of which are foreign owned and some even state controlled.

Yes, we’ve privatised our railways and utility companies only to see them now effectively operated by foreign countries through their state controlled companies.

Of course, and turning back to my original point, the standard Tory privatisation technique is transferable to getting the general public annoyed about cuts to council operations that should in reality be targeted directly at the Government, number 10 and 11 Downing Street in particular.

Just remember, without exception, it is those areas in greatest need of Government support (such as Sunderland), in the main Labour-controlled Councils and in ‘the North’, that have been hardest hit while Conservative-controlled Council’s, especially those in the South East, have escaped the deepest cuts.

Open your eyes citizens, don’t be taken in by the Tory lies and grotesque spin.

Our Conservative Councillors are quick to point the finger of blame but have you ever seen an alternative budget from them identifying where they would make the cuts that are required if the council is to the balance its books? Neither have I.

Rod Hepplewhite