COMMENT: street care cuts- a disaster waiting to happen?

First published in News

THERE comes a point when enough is enough. When we thought the local authority could not slash budgets any more than it already had, district bosses proved they could still find ways to pull the carpet right from under our feet.

After slicing health and youth provision and making as many savings as possible in pretty much every area they cover, they are now scraping the barrel by planning to cut huge chunks of the street care budget and asking town councils and parishes to fund planting, grass cutting and roundabout maintenance, among other things.

But where is the money supposed to come from? How are they supposed to foot the bill?

South Gloucestershire Council is only considering these cuts at the moment and will be launching a public consultation in March.

At the moment officers are putting a positive spin on the whole cuts business, explaining in a report that in the "spirit of localism" the move could give town councils and parishes more responsibility and the opportunity to get things done their way. But let’s again ask the million-dollar question: with what funds?

Yes, it would allow parishes and towns to decide whether to plant flowers, or opt for a "wildflower" and" meadow grasses" look as the document puts it.

The meadow grasses charm could soon turn into a wild jungle nightmare if parishes run out of money for basic upkeep.

It looks like just another quick fix solution to an immediate problem with potentially disastrous long-term consequences.

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