Jeremy Drinkall unpicks the latest cuts budget from Lambeth Council – another 500 job losses planned for 2016/17
Lambeth’s Labour Group of Councillors passed its annual budget on a bleak mid-winter night at Elmgreen School in Tulse Hill. It was the third in the series announced two years ago in their attempt to cut £90 million from the council’s budget. This year’s tranche is if anything more severe than the other. And it won’t be the last.
The people of Lambeth will be the biggest losers, many already suffering from low wages, a lack of affordable housing and diminishing local services. But there are others. The Labour Party is demoralising its own supporters by passing on the Tory cuts, a massive 58% reduction in government funding. Why vote Labour when you get Tory cuts?
But we too will pay heavily for this cowardly budget. A thousand staff have already lost their jobs. Another 524 will go with Voluntary Redundancy in April. No one would deny them the right to move on and be compensated, though their workload and/or cuts in the services they provide will land on those who remain.
There is an alternative. The Council could defy Cameron and Osborne’s Tories and stop all the cuts. On their ironically named love.lambeth.gov.uk website, they warn, “unelected civil servants appointed by central government” would make “hugely damaging” cuts. Let them try – we can resist!