The Sustainable Communities Act Can Help Councils Fight Cuts
Author: Emily Randall
Published on Sep 28, 2012
This post was written by Tim Williams. Tim volunteers with the Local Works team.
Last week saw writer for The Independent Owen Jones call on councillors to hold their ground on cuts as the extent of the damage was highlighted. In a conversation with Labour councillors the cuts were described as “intolerable”, taking into account the examples of brutal cuts outlined in Jones’ article. Intolerable they may be, but the cuts are not impossible to fight and they are not guaranteed, not yet anyway.
If anyone is to succeed in fighting against the cuts, it will take more than individual well-wishing councillors, it will also take a willing community. The Sustainable Communities Act allows people within a community to decide what their area needs most, and most importantly it prevents government rejecting proposals without justifiable reason.
One of the most frightening examples that Owen Jones discusses in his article is the drop in funding that women’s refuges receive resulting in women’s health being at serious risk in the form of mental and physical abuse. In this case the Sustainable Communities Act gives the local community the opportunity, and most importantly the authority, for local government to increase funding or provide another service that would protect women at risk. This proposal cannot be swept under the rug or ignored, neither can the government dictate to the council the way the situation must be resolved, which could result in an insufficient and cheap service. Instead the government must reach agreement as to the best way the local community can benefit and then implement change.
The Sustainable Communities Act places the opportunity to introduce positive chance into the hands of local community members, it has already seen successes, such the impact of the cuts being reversed for post offices in Sheffield. The more councils who become involved the stronger it becomes. Communities cannot expect councillors to stand up against cuts alone, local groups must join together using the Sustainable Communities Act to resist cuts.
Click here to learn how the Sustainable Communities Act works.