Funding and Carers Debate on Radio Suffolk

Today I was invited to be on the James Hazell show on Radio Suffolk in Ipswich along with opposition spokespersons for Labour and the Lib Dems. Whilst I have done many a ‘down the wire’ interview on different Radio Stations and the occasional face to face with a roving reporter and a microphone; this was my first Radio debate sitting in a studio with the headphones on waiting for callers to phone in to ask their questions, as well as debating with my fellow councillors. I must admit it was quite nerve wracking at first but then of course you get over that quite quickly when the opposition start on with their nonsense.

The debate started around the funding cuts that an incoming conservative government are going to have to make and the effects that this will have on Council services. Frankly even if people are totally daft and do not get rid of this failed labour government there will still be significant cuts needed, it’s just that they are not being honest about it. Given that it was the start of Carer’s week the session quickly moved on to a discussion on the effects of cuts on carers and those they care for. Jackie Martin from Suffolk Family Carers phoned in and as always put in a passionate argument for carers, their web site is http://www.suffolkfamilycarers.org or call 0844 225 3099, they are an excellent organisation that does so much for those with the dedication and sense of commitment who devote their time to looking after another. Daphne Savage for Age Concern Suffolk http://www.ageconcernsuffolk.org.uk or call 01473 359 911, also contributed and again this is another organisation we work with to deliver services for our older residents.

Then there were lots of questions from listeners around the need for the council to protect services that support Carers and frankly I could not agree more, carers perform an invaluable role in the lives of those they care for and in saving the council from being completely overwhelm by those who need support. As I said in answer to some of the questions posed, 80% of Residents in Suffolk look after their own care needs in later life, either they are fortunately enough not to need care services or they make their own arrangements; in keeping Council tax rises as low as we possibly can we are protected those on fixed incomes and this is an important part of our promise to those who elected us.

Equally we are rated the second most cost efficient Council in England after Kent and we are working hard to take that coveted top stop so you can be assured that we spend as much as is possible of the precious money residents entrusted with to delivering services not run the organisation. To do this we need a team of the very best people and as I said in reply to one of the listens questions about pay, we want and need the very best people if we are to be the most cost effect council and if you do not pay the going rate then you can’t expect to be the most efficient.

The Budget deficit is not a distant surreal thing or something that is going to take care of itself; it will require significant cuts in public spending. As we enter a different era for Local government and seek to manage the funding cuts that will be coming our way, we will have to make extremely difficult choices as to what services we can provide and must provide. There is a simple saying that has become something of a slogan for older peoples groups ‘nothing about us without us’ it is a simple but powerful maxim. Yes there will be staffing level cuts, yes we will work hard to be even more cost effective but ultimately what we will all have to do as councillors and residents is talk, discuss, debate, about where and how we are going to make the saving that will be required.

My thanks also goes to Radio Suffolk and James Hazell for allowing us and residents to debate this important subject and hopefully listeners were able to make some sense of the challenge we all face over the coming years.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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