7 May 2020
Green Party Councillor Chris Rigby protests: “We're in the midst of a national crisis and our local Conservative opposition are already calling for austerity 2.0 or is it 3.0 now? I lose count.
He was responding to Conservative members of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, who have called for Bournemouth Town Hall to be sold and more jobs cut as part of efforts to address the financial impact of the coronavirus. The full details were reported in Bournemouth Echo on 4th May, and can be seen here.
Chris Rigby continued: "Last month local government secretary Robert Jenrick told local authorities any extra costs they incur would be covered. But Cllr Mellor said the council should prepare to have to cover some itself.
“Do the Conservatives have a briefing that we don't? that the promised funding won't be coming, and BCP will have to cover the costs?
“No surprises the Conservative solution should this happen, is to sell off assets and make more job cuts. Where have we seen this before?
“The same job cuts that left our NHS unable to deal with a national health crisis? How about the same ones that have left all of our emergency services without the capacity to effectively carry out their jobs.
“The same sort of asset sales that lead to quick fix, cash now, solutions with no thought for the future? Right to buy and no re-investment in council housing stock anyone?
“I refuse to see the same mistakes from history repeat themselves in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
“The only way we're ever going to improve is by learning from past failings, and trying something new.
“If we're not going to get the money promised and owed from Central Government, if we're going to be let down, and hung out to dry, the only way we're going to get through this is together, by all supporting our local businesses, and our local economy, keeping our money in BCP, creating something circular and sustainable.
“Sending more people to the job centre, and to claim benefits is not the answer.”