There is no alternative? A bit of a pickle

3 Mar 2011 by Karl Hallam

There is a real head of steam building up for cuts protests and saving the NHS. No doubt protests have their place, but is there an alternative to the current cuts proposals? If there is who is going to articulate it?

Whoever is in government at the moment would be having to make some cuts ... Labour had laid out some already and they were in the same ballpark as those being proposed by the Coalition. If you put aside the arguments about the pace of cuts, there would still need to be some of the so called 'tough choices' to be made.

Ed Miliband and his local government peers are perhaps unsurprisingly quiet about what they would/will cut, but the difference is that local council leaders who win in the May elections are going to be faced with implementing the cuts. As we've been saying here for a long time the one type of devolution you can be sure of is of cuts and the proverbial is hitting the fan in Town Halls now as budgets are set. If councils had some real financial freedom (see ippr North's great piece on this - Katie Schmuecker) it would still be a tough job. But, when Eric Pickes is threatening councils if they cuts the worng thing (3rd sector in this case) it all looks very sticky ...

From Third Sector:

"It is reasonable to expect that councils will not pass on disproportionate cuts to local voluntary and community groups," said Pickles. "That they will not inflict bigger reductions to your budgets than they take on themselves." 

He said it was also reasonable to expect councils to have discussed changes to services with charities "at a very early stage", to give three months’ notice of funding changes and allow three months for groups to suggest alternatives to cuts or ways of reshaping services.  

"If councils are being high-handed, I’ll consider giving our reasonable expectations statutory force".




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