Sussex people are feeling the pinch. We read that “Freezing cancer patients are increasingly being left to rely on charity handouts because spiralling fuel costs leave them unable to heat their homes”.
We learn that street lights in parts of the county could be turned off completely, only operate for part of the night, or be dimmed. £4.7 million is being cut from the adult social care budget over the next three years and the County Council has admitted that some people could have their care reduced or cut. Even the cuts themselves are adding to the cost. Already, East Sussex County Council has spent about £5.5 million making 430 people redundant in two years.
Added to this are the mean little threats to what adds fullness to our lives. Sussex has more than 2,000 miles of footpath winding through wonderful countryside. But they need to be maintained. Cuts would mean that many walking ways would become unusable. In Eastbourne, there is talk of closing or limiting libraries.
Meanwhile, a recent report commissioned by senior figures from all three main parties concludes that scrapping Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system, would save £83.5bn. A quick estimate suggests that every working man and woman in the UK is paying £3,000 for something that is supposed to make us more secure by threatening to kill tens of millions of people.
Do these priorities reflect the wishes of the citizens of our county? It all depends in what you call security. Is it about maintaining some sort of international clout through keeping something in the cupboard which it would be insane, immoral and illegal actually to use? Or is it about safeguarding and enriching people in their daily lives?
George Fairbrother, Hailsham