"I want to see government levelling up Doncaster and the North, but sadly we are not seeing it." Ros Jones
The local Conservatives seem to either forget or ignore that we have had over ten years of cuts to the public sector, they sell the message that Conservative governments have supported Doncaster, unfortunately this is not the case.
We continue to see the rhetoric on ‘levelling up’, yet in Doncaster we have not got the new hospital, the railway station at DSA Airport or the Freeport.
I want to see government levelling up Doncaster and the North, but sadly we are not seeing it.
It appears government would rather spend £2.6million on improvements to the Downing Street briefing room and let’s not forget the £37 billion on inappropriate PPE, Track & Trace which has now largely been handed to Local Authorities.
To give a bit of context, £37 billion equates to roughly £552 per person in the UK or £168 million for Doncaster, that money could fix all our roads and enable our HWRC’s to be open 7 days a week.
All this wasting of public funds at a time when government had to be shamed into providing free school meals to the most vulnerable over the holidays and the shameful 1% pay rise for our NHS staff who have been on the front line for over a year saving lives and putting their own lives at risk.
The story of ‘there isn’t enough money’ just doesn’t cut it’, they can find the budget to cut the rate of tax for multi-million-pound companies, increase our stockpile of nuclear weapons and continue to award multi-million-pound contracts to their friends. Yet they are cutting our army numbers, and national debt has more than doubled in the last 10 years to a staggering £ 2.2 trillion and only roughly £350 billion of that was in the past twelve months in dealing with Covid-19.
What Doncaster and this country is crying out for is the levelling up that has been promised, and not just the political rhetoric we have currently. We need the levels of investment seen after the Second World War, investing in our people, places and our communities. Creating jobs and opportunities for our residents, people in work spend money and will help drive the economic recovery of Doncaster. (77% of council spend is spent with local firms – equating to nearly £30 million in Quarter 3).
We are at the cusp of a climate crisis, we have the opportunity for a green recovery, saving our planet whilst also providing highly paid and skilled jobs.
This is not the time for little pots of money or the apparent lack of ambition from central government.
The local Conservatives only start talking about what they would do differently around election time, at no point in the last 8 years have they put forward budget proposals or an alternative budget.
They could have put forward an alternative budget, with council officers pulling together the figures for them. There big ‘visionary’ plan could have been costed and modelled using the latest council financial data. They did not take up this opportunity, so their manifesto is complete guesswork.
They seem to be happy to criticise council decisions publicly, but when it comes to making these decisions at cabinet meetings they do not attend and do not put forward any questions or proposed changes.