Cuts of an unprecedented £10m annually are needed to balance Herefordshire Council’s books … and they want you to decide where to make the savings.
In a calculated move designed to shift the blame, council leader John Jarvis has invited everyone in the county to take part in a consultation over the budget cuts.
Far be it from our job as anarchists to try and patch up the rotten economic system that caused this mess. But the revolution we strive for is, unfortunately, still a long way off and the council are making cuts now. So here are just a few suggestions from us.
Axe Herefordshire Matters
…that glossy mag the council put out to make themselves look good. It wouldn’t be a huge saving (£74,000 a year) but every little helps. As an alternative the council can simply send press releases to local media like everyone else.
No more money to Hereford Futures…
And no more money to the ESG project at all. This is a commercial project; any further funding should come from the chainstores that will be operating—and making a profit—on the site … rent free!
…And cancel the ESG link road
This part of the project is soaking up a massive £30m and is not essential to the first phase of the development. Rockfield and many other small businesses have already been a victim to it but further damage and job losses can be limited by scrapping the road.
If the choice is a new shopping complex or schools and care for the elderly and disabled, then the choice is simple.
Sell the racecourse
Some people see this as an historic part of Hereford. But the sport is barbaric and the golf course within it is not up to much either. The land could be sold for a one-off cash injection. Restrictions could be placed on how much development could be allowed.
Donate to the state
Local individuals with considerable wealth should be actively encouraged to put their hands in their pockets and donate to the council. A strange one perhaps but how much difference is there in donating to a local authority to provide services and donating to a charity to provide the same services, post-cuts? Local millionaires, like MP Jesse Norman and ‘philanthropist’ Clive Richards, have made their money by exploiting the rest of society and should be giving something back.
Pay cuts for council staff
But only some. Every individual earning £50,000 or more should have their pay cut to £50,000. Council jobs are jobs of public service and not a means to leading lavish, high status, lifestyles.
Lastly, Herefordshire Council should make its accounts available in full to all members of the public, written in plain English. Perhaps one last issue of Herefordshire Matters?