Coun Paul Bellenger: Is austerity good for recovery?

It is a system that is failing those who are really in need. Photo; AdobeStockIt is a system that is failing those who are really in need. Photo; AdobeStock
It is a system that is failing those who are really in need. Photo; AdobeStock
Austerity is a word we have all heard many times over recent years. It is a word used by countries’ governments to describe a set of economic policies put in place to address the current economic crisis. It usually consists of tax increases, spending cuts, or a combination of the two, used by governments to reduce budget deficits.

By ​​Greetland & Stainland Ward Councillor, Paul Bellenger Liberal Democrat Group Leader

Is austerity good for recovery? I would say not because what we cut or increase in one place has a knock-on effect somewhere else. We see increases to council taxes but not our salaries. These increases may generate income for UK authorities, however, many people who may already be struggling will be put further into debt by trying to pay the extra taxes along with ever increasing fuel bills, food bills etc.

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Many people will lose their homes, their jobs, become ill due to the stresses and struggles of trying to put food on the table, look after their children or other vulnerable family members. Society will find many people who were once financially self-sufficient now turning to local government for support.

This is a false economy, by taking too much from one hand you are having to give something back in the other, especially if you don’t want to run the risk of losing life.

No authority in this country would want to think they have contributed to the loss of a life due to not being able to support that person at the time of need, a need that has stemmed from the ever-increasing cost of living.

Meanwhile the management of this country worsens as government spends more than it can afford on a broken asylum system which currently costs around £4billion a year and rising, and around £8million a day on hotel bills on the tens of thousands of illegal migrants who place this burden on central and local government. It is a system that is failing those who are really in need, the people who are genuinely fleeing persecution, but also our own war veterans, our elderly, our vulnerable and homeless, our children who are being taken into care because the family homes are being torn apart as parents battle the rising costs of living.

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This government has lost £2.3bn on a cancelled HS2 scheme, £50m on a new helicopter for the elite Tories and a loss of £31bn a year due to Brexit. The list goes on. The mismanagement of this country comes at a high price, a price which prevents economic growth and a sustainable economy, and which also damages communities where we should be able to live healthy and fulfilled lives.

It’s time we had a change of government to one which understands the true needs of its people, one that can work with other countries to provide support for those who genuinely need it, control our borders from those who are entering purely to take advantage of our good nature, a government that takes the time to see what struggles have been forced upon the many who are now having to hold out their hands for support.

We can become Great Britain once again, a nation envied by others, a world leader. Winston Churchill quoted the words; To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often, I would say that our current government is doing neither.