Last night's council meeting included one of those silly motions from the Tories slagging off Labour for "warped financial decisions" and a poorly thought through proposal on the council's consultancy spend. If the motion had stuck to the issue of consultancy expenditure which is clearly worthy of debate and further scrutiny it would have had merit. However, its descent into blatant political posturing is something that turns almost everybody off, including me.
This motion wasn't debated, only voted on. It seemed to surprise the
Labour side that I voted with them and against the motion but I
thought it worth briefly explaining why:
Firstly, I believe it is the case that at least some consultants
commissioned by Wirral Council are paid a daily rate, sometimes in
excess of £500 per day. So I don’t believe that the limit of £50,000
pounds in this motion has been properly thought through.
But more fundamentally, for the Conservative
group to advise anybody about “warped financial decisions”
would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.
The austerity embraced with such relish by the
Conservative –led government represents the most warped financial
decision of our lifetime. The fall out is all around us. From the
explosion in food banks, poverty pay, zero hours contracts, not to
mention the Tories complete failure to eradicate the budget
deficit as promised. Their bogus recovery is based on debt-fuelled
bubbles in the property and financial markets while millions
depend on precarious jobs with falling real wages. Savage welfare
cuts sit beside ever expanding executive pay and a corporate
sector that takes tax avoidance for granted.
This week we learned from the End Child Poverty
campaign that 43%
of children in Birkenhead and Tranmere now live in poverty.
The warped financial decisions that impose austerity on these
families is a shocking indictment of the malign impacts of the
coalition government. Austerity is not inevitable. It has to end
and it can’t end soon enough.