"Truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. A loss of courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days..." Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Commencement address at Harvard University , June 8, 1978

Friday, 4 December 2009


As if peoples lives were not bad enough with the Credit Crunch, and the huge job loses from big employers such as Honda, the Swindon Borough Council (SBC) are planning on making many lives that little bit more difficult.

Under the new planes which were revealed in the Swindon Advertiser two days ago, street lights could be turned off, youth clubs being cut and funding for transport for the disabled and elderly is being severely slashed. The reason behind this is because of SBC’s £12 million budget blackhole.

As if the above was not enough, these new planes could see caretakers being removed from community centres and the cutting of vital bus services.

In my eyes the worst of these cuts is the slashing of funding for the Dial-A-Ride service- a voluntary transport service for disabled and elderly people who struggle to travel. I know that this service serves a great purpose in Swindon, due to the fact that my Grand Grandmother who is 89 years old uses the service often. This important service will be stripped of £50,000.

Old Town resident Mary Ratcliffe, a member of Action Against Elder Abuse had this to say:

“it’s a cruel decision. They are hurting the most vulnerable people in society. There are lots of people who rely on that for their lives- they can’t cook, they can’t go shopping. It’s very valuable for them. If they are not running efficiently then the council should help them be efficient instead of taking away their funding.”

What makes these cuts even more disgusting is that there are signs galore that the SBC are wasting money left right and centre. Let me give an example; last week the SBC gave £450,000 to a private company for the pointless Wi-fi project. That money could have been spent on the Dial a Ride service and no cuts would need to be made for approximately nine years, by which time the budget blackhole could have been filled by more appropriate means. On top of this I reported here that the SBC wasted government grants -which were meant to be spent on the very services they are cutting- on paying the bill left by Radio One’s Big weekend.

The other area of concern is the cuts in Youth Services. It has been proposed that there be a 10 per cent reduction in the services, which may include the closure of some youth centres. This to me is troubling because my personal opinion is that there isn’t enough for youngsters to do as it is, so with this reduction, there will be less to keep teenagers off the streets and out of trouble.

This is crazy. If the council was run properly and public money spent as it should, then we wouldn’t be in this mess. The proposal will be discussed at a Cabinet Meeting on Wednesday 9th December.

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