Saturday, February 15, 2014

UKIP support Suffolk Tories and vote to cut children's services

Being childless myself, I am fortunate in that the inadequacies of Suffolk County Council when it comes to education don't directly affect me. On the other hand, when your local authority ranks 146th (out of 152) at primary level and 137th at secondary level, you have to wonder whether cutting expenditure on Children and Young People services is really that good an idea.

For a 6% cut in real terms is what our local Conservatives have come up with for the coming year, which can hardly augur well. Of course, it does mean that the council tax precept is frozen once again, which is fine for Suffolk council taxpayers in terms of their wallets, but not necessarily great for those of us who see education as an investment. But, to add insult to injury, it appears that the Conservatives intend to add the "Pickles bribe" to the reserves rather than to protect services. 

And whilst the Conservatives probably send their children to private schools, or are too old for it to matter any more, you do have to wonder why UKIP were so happy to support the Conservative budget for 2014/15. After all, as our nearby UKIP councillor was so proud to claim how pleased he was to be fighting for our country again, having underperforming schools is something he might want to oppose.

But, for those people who were so keen to vote UKIP to pull Suffolk out of Europe send a message, the idea that, as UKIP councillor for Oulton, Reg Silvester, said; 
the UKIP group as a whole supported the budget, and he felt the administration had done a good job.
what exactly was the point of voting for them when, if more cuts and unaccountability were wanted, one could just have voted Conservative instead?

I'm guessing that Stephen Searle won't be putting out a leaflet telling local residents what he has done (and now I come to think about it, what has he done?), as school cutbacks are hardly likely to be popular. And, if his colleague is to be believed, so much for the idea that they are independently minded and unwhipped.

It just goes to show, perhaps, that by voting UKIP you simply get do-nothings with a different coloured rosette. At least I know what their Conservative counterparts stand for...

4 comments:

Sandy Martin said...

Thanks for this, Mark, a clear and sensible statement. A bit of a pity you didn't mention that it was the Labour amendment to spend some of the additional money on the School Improvement Service and Educational Welfare Officers which UKIP were opposing. Very glad to have got the support of Lib Dems for this. Best wishes, Sandy

Mark Valladares said...

Sandy,

I never see the point of disagreeing with someone just because they're from another party, but you might just be a bit premature in assuming that you have the support of more than one Liberal Democrat - I hardly claim to represent more than my own perspective...

Old Marine said...

Dear Mark,
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Your post is very similar to your first report about me, amusing, but also very inaccurate.
What have I done? Well I resigned from a well paid position and have since devoted my time to the People and Town of Stowmarket. If you require more detail, talk to your colleague Lib Dem Cllr Keith Scaff: we get on well. He can update you on my recent projects and what I have achieved in the last eight months. I am happy to meet with you personally to bring you up to speed!
Steve Searle UKIP

Mark Valladares said...

Stephen,

Welcome to the site!

I'm impressed that you have taken such an approach to being a County Councillor, although how would I know what you've done unless I ran into you and had the time to ask. I will ask Keith next time I see him though, as he's a pretty good judge of character.

You don't, though, comment on the decision to cut the children and young people budget, which was rather the point of the posting. Do you think that an underperforming education authority is likely to improve matters with such a cut, and what do you think local parents have to say about it?

If someone had said twenty years ago that Suffolk would be looking towards Hackney for advice on how to improve educational standards, most people around here would have been horrified. It is a sign of both Hackney's improvement and Suffolk's decline that such a step is deemed necessary.