by Cllr Maya de Souza
The Camden New Journal report on Sir Derek Jacobi’s plea to save services provided for our older citizens by charitable giving brings home just how badly services for the elderly are likely to be hit by cuts in Camden’s budget.
Services are provided through different departments and through voluntary sector bodies such as Age UK. Cuts in these different budgets are chipping away at our services and are already forcing the voluntary sector to concentrate on fundraising, rather than providing services.
The impact on the health and well-being of the elderly is much more serious than the “granny tax” that led to a general protest earlier in the year.
To date, Camden has had a good provision of services from luncheon clubs to exercise classes. But the combined effect of central government cuts and cuts in the Council’s revenue through freezing Council Tax for around six years is likely to be severe. Years of freezing the council tax below the rate of inflation has meant a loss of revenue of about £15m a year, a sum which would have made a major dent in the £80m cuts that are now required.
Leaving aside the issue of whether the cuts are necessary on a national level considering the potential to save money from unnecessary wars and Trident nuclear weapons and to raise it by addressing tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy individuals, at a local level Greens will be seeking transparency and dialogue as to how best to fund these services, as well as cross-party pressure on central government. That’s the sort of politics we would like to see – open and honest dialogue with residents and cross-party working so that the Council and residents together can do our best to protect services.