No end in sight

A widely accepted definition of the term Society is – ‘A community, nation or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions and collective activities and interests.’

Alarmingly, cracks caused by the actions of national and local government are appearing in our society which, if not corrected, could lead to widespread discontent and disorder.

Twelve years of austerity have left inadequate law enforcement, a limping NHS and at a time of war in Europe and international terrorism, armed forces with manpower so diminished that there is talk of conscription.  These problems have been aggravated by a central government facing proven allegations of being unstable, demoralized and disaffected.

The Times recently reported claims by the Institute of Government that public services were performing at their worst since 2010 due to funding cuts and lack of investment.

According to a Local Government Association survey, Hampshire County Council is in danger of issuing a Section 114 (bankruptcy) notice in the next year.  If true, this is despite £500m in cuts over recent years.  Now we are faced with another of their ‘consultations’ advocating further savage cuts to local services totalling £75m.  Few services have escaped their attention, notably those affecting children, the disadvantaged, elderly and disabled.  This determination to cut services does our elected representatives no credit.

Currently we live in one of the world’s richest countries, but with failing public services.  Instead of properly financing the many areas of deprivation and inadequacies in our society, we have a government reducing National Insurance contributions and hinting about tax cuts next April.  This is money that should be used for the provision of services we desperately need.   Additionally, there are many individuals and organisations well able to contribute more for the good of our wider society.

It’s time for change.

Christopher O’Neill

Chair, Hampshire Unison Retired Members Section

Clarendon House

Monarch Way

Winchester SO22 5AT