Sunday, 27 February 2011

Driver does screeching U-turn...

but in wrong direction..

In 2006 County Councillor Driver was right behind our campaign to save Maplewood House from closure due to budget cuts by the then Labour administration in charge. He made a number of supportive statements in the press and attacked the decision strongly.

A number of other Conservative councillors when asked by the Lancashire Evening Post 'Do you think Maplewood House should stay open?' replied a definitive "YES".

They included Mark Perks (2006:"It really is unacceptable to treat vulnerable families using this much needed facility in this way".), Mike Calvert, Christopher Holtom - the chair of the meeting on the 17th February who had a mother of a disabled child removed from the public gallery by police as she attempted to ask a question of the assembled councillors - and ..Susie Charles who is now proposing the closures taking £3 million out of the respite centres budget.

Mr Driver also penned a letter to the Lancashire Evening Post challenging a Labour Councillor with the question "Is Councillor Gore saying it is okay to close a respite centre other than Maplewood?"

More recently -just over 18 months ago- in 2009 when the Conservatives wanted to take control of the County Council from Labour at the County Council elections that year they slammed Labour councillors in their election material for cutting the budget for respite by £150,000.

Conservative leaflet June 2009

Two of the measures criticised here are in the Conservatives budget cuts announced on the 6th January approved by Cabinet on 3rd of February and voted through by Full Council on 17th February.

This time though its £3m from the children with disabilities respite budget and £1.5 million from the adult social care training budget ..and many millions more - £179.1m in total - and 70% of cuts fall on frontline services.

The Conservatives described Labour's proposals in 2009 as 'slashing' services and hitting 'those who rely on them most'. Indeed.

So what's changed?

Of course as the leaflet points out we've had the bank bailout.

The state of the national finances were certainly well known in 2009. Could it be that they were just playing party politics with vital services the most vulnerable rely on to get elected? It wouldn't be the first time.

Time for a change in Lancashire? Families may well feel betrayed.

And why are these families who contribute so much already being made to pay for national deficit problems?

Politicians do not like being accused of making U-turns as it portrays them as weak or hypocritical - but that kind of political rhetoric should be part of the old politics. We are supposed to be in a time of 'new' politics.

What is needed here is a change of heart.