ENCLOSED with my electoral registration form was a document entitled “Your Chance to be the Chancellor”.
Inside, was a leaflet from council leader Paul Yallop asking for my views on what he refers to as “quick wins”, the prizes for these “wins” being cuts in jobs services and facilities.
In addition to being opposed to these cuts, I have a problem with this approach to “democracy”. A similar exercise last year is being used as justification for making cuts including getting rid of the town’s three theatres.
Based on figures from Worthing Council’s website and the “Chancellor” leaflet, last year, less than 5,000 responded from a population of 102,000. Getting rid of the theatres was the fourth favourite option, so it seems reasonable to assume that views from a tiny number of residents are being used to justify chopping the town’s entertainment infrastructure. Moreover, the list of cuts we are now being asked to agree will mostly affect young people who have no say in the process.
The traditional way to avoid service cuts has been to raise taxes; I have no problem with this, provided money is well spent. I would be more impressed if councillors reduced their “allowances” (Mr Yallop collected over £12,000 last year, this exceeds the annual income for a person working on minimum wage.). Admittedly, cuts in expenses would not make massive savings, but if we are really “all in this together” (as Prime Minister Cameron keeps telling us) where is the contribution from Councillors?
The current administration was elected to run Worthing in the best interests of the town and its future. If the council feels this is best achieved by taking an axe to services, then they should justify this in an open and honest manner rather than hide behind a pathetic attempt to convince us that the popular vote is for cuts in services and facilities.
I challenge Mr Yallop to provide a comprehensive breakdown of last year’s “You be the Chancellor”, and urge those who have yet to return this year’s leaflet to do so in a way, which prevents any justification for further cuts, which will damage the town, its residents and its future.