In the week of the Autumn Statement, funding for public services is once again at the forefront of parliamentary debate. There’s increased concern about the state of NHS with a growing belief that the service is understaffed and underfunded.
The National Audit Office says that the trend in the financial performance of NHS Trusts risks making local health and care services unsafe and unsustainable.
Little surprise then that some see the Draft Sustainability and Transformation plans for the NHS over the next 5 years as an agenda for cuts.
Or when our local Trust temporarily closes Emergency Departments to cope with winter pressures by concentrating services at the new Critical Care Hospital it’s no surprise when eyebrows are raised.
But it’s not just the NHS under pressure, with local schools facing real term cuts in their budgets, as per pupil funding is frozen while inflation and staff costs rise. Local schools face the biggest cuts in a generation with many teachers set to lose their jobs. The Governments response, instead of better funding, is to offer a new funding formula which we know will hit areas like ours hardest.
Educating our children, and tomorrows workforce, and keeping people healthy and safe is not what matters to someone else, it matters to all of us. Our public services need proper funding – perhaps we could start with a share of the £350 million a week exiting the EU is meant to bring.