AUSTERITY BUDGET: …New era of cuts to essential services.

Communities will be pulled in further vulnerability.

Clinging on to the idea that austerity is a prudent economic choice to justify it on-going cuts, UK government is harming communities. Authorities are failing millions of citizens by forcing councils to reduce funding to vital community institutions such as hospitals, adult social care, police, prisons and schools and other public services, in order to control their spending and balance their budget to accommodate the cuts.

With a population reaching nearly 329,800 as of 2013, according to Coventry City Council report and the automobile industry its economic spine, the city is suffering from loads of crimes.

Coventry has gained the reputation of being one of he most violent and unsafe cities in the UK with areas such as Willenhall, Foleshill, Hillfields, and Wood End, unfortunately renown as being “hot spots” of criminal activity. Already stretched to their limits, west midlands Police are trying their very best to keep residents safe and make sure criminals are brought to books; an enterprise in a world of budget cuts that consist of herculean tasks like cleaning out the Augean stables. The city is besieged by anti-social behaviour, burglary, theft, drugs, robbery, sexual assault, shoplifting and other.

A catalyst for crime and violence in Coventry is the misuse of drugs and alcohol. Even though anti-social behaviour was the most common, with 6,534 incidents reported between April 2016 and March 2017, drugs and alcohol linked crimes are also something that should be considered although the tally was only 430 from April 2016 to March 2017. It is 430 incidents too many that could have been avoided with appropriate measures and helping organisations working in that field.

Many charities are doing great work helping communities in Coventry but their various efforts are being constantly dwarfed by the successive cuts imposed on them by austerity and it is not going to get better any time soon. Coventry city Council has lost £95 million a year due government cuts. The government spending cuts are continuing and by 2020 it will reach the equivalent of £120 millions a year which means around 55% reduction in government grant received by the council. Every year, money allocated to Public health is decreasing drastically. Last budget allocated £24,438,180 to Health Care with £323,340 to drugs and alcohol. This year’s budget is even lower with £22,833,000 to Health care and only £313,000 to drugs and alcohol.

By Toni TOPANOU

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