Ryeview – August 2010

John Clark writes…

First published: August 2010

David Cameron said: “We are all in it together”. Will his family miss out as a result of the cuts? I doubt it. Those that lose out will be the low income households, the sick, those that rely on public transport and others who are lower down the ladder.

A country, like families, has on occasions to tighten its belt. In a family the luxuries go first, then the non-essentials and the long term purchases. The ConDem government doesn’t appear to work like that.

North Yorkshire County Council appears to have a similar approach. On Saturdays during term time North Yorkshire County Council ran partly subsidised buses to the Music Centres in Scarborough, Harrogate and others. Youngsters were able, with their instruments, to get to these centres from the rural areas. When the axe fell parents complained and tried to air their grievance on Radio York. Here this was described as ‘elitist’ and for ‘posh kids with fancy instruments’. My daughter learned to play the French Horn through the County Music Service and travelled to Scarborough on the County bus. As far as I know we are not elitist and have never been accused of being posh. However she did learn to play a ‘fancy instrument’. We could not have afforded private lessons or to have taken her to the rehearsals. So it wouldn’t have happened.

MPs were not elected to make ‘Savage Cuts Now’. As for the County, this is a disgraceful way to make savings. If there has to be cuts they must be made using a surgeon’s scalpel to make an incision, not bludgeoned with a blunt axe. There are a series of steps that must happen.

  • There must be consultation.
  • Time must be given to work out ways of reducing the impact.
  • Options should be provided as to how to make the savings.
  • An analysis must be made of who may be discriminated against and how this can be prevented.

Compare this with the way the axe was wielded on the music transport.

  • Parents were not consulted beforehand
  • There were only three weeks to the end of term for the parents to try and salvage anything from the wreckage.
  • There were no options given as to how the savings could be made
  • No analysis was made of who would be discriminated against.

The County Councillors say they ‘understand’ and are ‘sympathetic’. Cuts, they say, ‘come from the government’ so there is ‘nothing we can do’. MPs say it is ‘in the hand of the County Councillors’. MPs could have taxed the banks, the well off and scrapped Trident.

The County Council and District Councils spend thousands of pounds sending all their Chairs and Mayors in chauffeur driven limousines to the concerts. The total amount spent on this over the last ten years could have kept the student buses running for quite some time.

Compare this with an 11 year old hauling a cello on public transport and then walking a couple of miles in the rain. At least with this policy the ‘chain gang’ will be able to listen to the ‘posh kids’ at the concerts. Well that is if the concerts survive.

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