Councils face recession’s ‘second wave’….
BBC Politics had this story yesterday about an Audit Commission report warning that councils will need extra support as they deal with ‘second wave’ of the recession ie, the social fall out from rising unemployment and business failures. It accused some councils of complacency and failing to deal with the potentially devastating consequences of long-term unemployment.
The overall thrust of the story is that councils are simply not doing enough and this is borne out in the text:
“Man councils are investing in are investing in recession programmes, with around half agreeing that this represents a significant new area of spending”.
One does seriously wonder which planet the other half of councils live on; presumably one where there is no recession and they don’t feel obligated to have to deal with it. Burying our head in the sand is simply not an option; things like targeted funding for Workless Neighbourhoods and extra support for businesses all need to be on the table.
It is hardly surprising that the report finds:
“Councils with a sound overall plan, understood by everybody, targeted on local issues, creatively resourced and delivered in partnership are likely to be most effective”.
For us in the Liberal Democrats, as we are currently priding ourselves on running big metropolitan districts, this is the most pressing issue as this is obviously going to effect these areas most. I am sure it is keenly pressing on the minds of ourselves and our coalition partners in Leeds, the Conservatives, and it would be nice to see this reflected in the public domain. Given that it is a national Labour government that has presided over this recession it would be a little odd for people to charge Labour councillors with protecting their communities on a local council.
This is a true opportunity for us to show our progressive colours on a local level by sticking-up for communities and protecting them from the worst effects of this recession.