IT IS customary to send greetings for the New Year to those you care about. Terms like prosperity, peace, success, happiness, good tidings and good luck, spring to mind.
Internationally, Europe teeters on the brink of recession, and the Euro on annihilation. This will certainly affect our prosperity. The Arab Spring uprisings, and our armed forces’ regrettable fight in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan, certainly affect peace.
Nationally, the coalition government struggles with the massive financial problems Labour bequeathed to them. Chancellor George Osborne has already increased VAT to a record 20 per cent, and very recently lowered economic growth forecasts, increased government borrowing, and said that austerity measures will be extended to 2017. So little success there!
Decisions giving rise to massive youth unemployment; the abolition of the £30 per week Education Maintenance Allowance; the demise of the Careers Service; the castration of the Youth Service and the increase in tuition fees to some £27,000; will hardly bring happiness to our young people.
At county level, schools are being hastily ‘privatised’ under the ‘academy’ smokescreen – welcomed by some, feared by others. The ‘personal budgets’ for those who require care, be they handicapped, disabled or disadvantaged, old or young, are not uniformly good tidings.
The ‘feel bad factor’ is all pervasive. Boston borough is hurting. Problem properties, be they the mothballed Haven Gallery, the tatty Assembly Rooms, the white elephant PRSA, the scruffy municipal buildings, the creaking municipal crematorium, the allotments and even the rusting refuse fleet are a drain on the borough’s resources. Even Boston’s goose no longer lays golden eggs. The borough’s car parks are losing out to the large, private Robin Hood car cark. Well located and charging just 50p an hour – with the reduction in the Market Place car parking from 110 spaces to just 40 – the borough cannot compete. Good luck is passing the borough by.
There are, however, two pieces of good news. The freezing of the council tax started by the previous administration, and the reopening of the Geoff Moulder Training pool. Unfortunately they come at a price. Frontline services are not being protected.
New Year brings renewed hope. Perhaps even the first step towards the replacement of an old, out-moded party political system.
COUN RAY NEWELL
Lincolnshire Independent (BDI)