How many times have we been told ‘there is no magic money tree’? It has been used to explain why we can’t have decent public services, why those with disabilities must go without support for their extra living costs, why the age of retirement keeps being pushed back, and above all why people shouldn’t vote Labour, even when every manifesto pledge has been costed and financed.
Almost a decade into cuts we find Crawley’s NHS stuck in financial special measures and residents unable to register with a GP, law and order breaking down as losing 800 police officers and PCSOs makes its mark, and local headteachers marching on Downing Street to make it clear they do not have the budget necessary to educate our children. So, it’s welcome to see that our new Prime Minister appears to have found that elusive magic money tree.
However, it does raise a few questions. Firstly, if the money was always there, why have we been forced to go through years of pain with people unable to access the medical care they need, with stabbings and drug dealing taking place openly on our streets and letting a generation of our young people being down?
Secondly, the investment in services and the numbers of police officers which are being discussed are equivalent to what was provided by the last Labour Government, is the limit of the Conservatives’ ambition to be as good as a Labour Government or do they have a vision of their own for our services?
Lastly, given the Prime Minister’s extremely poor track record on seeing through his commitments when Mayor of London, is he really being honest with what he is promising now or is it simply a last minute bid before a snap General Election to buy our votes before giving us more of the same. Given that the investment in the NHS promised this week all appears to be at hospitals next to marginal Labour constituencies, when frankly East Surrey could do with the investment, it makes you wonder if Mr Johnson is taking us all for a ride. Again.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader Crawley Borough Council