Thursday, 31 March 2011

Three numbers that tell you a lot about government cuts

A few days ago I was talking with an old friend about the massive cuts the government have made to public services.

My friend said to me that given the current economic situation cuts were necessary (and noone would deny some are). He went on however to comment that there is so much waste in the public sector (and there is some) ordinary people wouldn't notice any real change to the services that they use.

In response to those comments I have been doing some digging around to see whether my friend was right or not.

I wanted to know just how governmental cuts will affect ordinary people in Leicestershire.

I've come up with just three numbers that highlight how our Conservative / Lib Dem Governments cuts will affect us directly in this county.

Those three numbers are: 135, 3400 and 1500.

Firstly, 135 is the reduction in police officer numbers in Leicestershire in the past two years.

When I mention this figure I'm not talking about back office staff (although 98 of those have been cut as well) but real police officers. I would question whether the ordinary person in the street can expect the same level of service from our policemen and women when nearly 6% of officers have been got rid of?

The second number of 3400 is the number of Leicestershire people who will no longer be able to access social care services due to the County Council deciding not to assist those with 'moderate' needs.

Now on the face of it many people would question just how severe 'moderate' care needs are. The County Council's own website gives an example of a lady aged 86 who 'is partially sighted, has limited mobility following hip replacement surgery and needs help with personal care in the mornings and assistance in cooking a hot meal'.

What is our society coming to when we can no longer provide care to significant numbers of people in this county suffering from this and similar levels of need?

My last number is 1500. This is the number of jobs expected to be lost at Leicester hospitals over the next four years.

Our government promised they would maintain NHS budgets, yet in 2011/12 (because budgets haven't gone up with inflation either) the hospitals we use in Leicester need to save £38 million.

Once again ask yourself can we expect the health service to maintain its current levels of service, or go downhill?

So next time someone says to you that we won't notice the difference to public services just remind them of those three figures and let them ponder a while.

Many thanks to County Councillor Max Hunt for assisting me with this data. All information has been provided in written responses to member questions or obtained from www.leicestershire.gov.uk .

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