One can already, just a few months into the Tory-Lib Dem government, compile a list of the cuts affecting ordinary Barnet people. There will be many more in the months and years to come.
Today someone sent the trades council an email about their local park keeper service - it is going to be cut from one full-time park keeper (who has won awards for their work) to a team visiting once a week. The person that wrote said they were worried that the park would be taken over by "yobs", and go downhill. They also drew a direct connection between the priorities of Barnet council leaders - increasing their allowances - and this cut.
What else is falling victim to the cuts in Barnet?
- Building Schools for the Future: Bishop Douglas RC, Copthall, Oak Lodge, St Mary's CE High, The Pavillion and The Ravenscroft all lost the funding for rebuilding
- grants to voluntary bodies including East Finchley Advice Service and East Finchley Neighbourhood Contact (merged with Age Concern Barnet)
- Henlys Corner improvement plan under review
These disparate issues need to be drawn together. The Allowancegate scandal is a galvanising focus for the anger around the different cuts. The Times series reports today on Barnet unions' calculations of how many frontline staff the councillors' allowance rise could fund.
And former (Tory!) councillor Dan Hope's "Barnet Declaration" is gathering support, alongside the many petitions that have been started.
There is a full council meeting scheduled on Tuesday 14 September at Hendon Town Hall. The public can go and watch proceedings from 7pm, the trades council is also organising a lobby outside from 6pm. Come and let Barnet's council know what you think of Allowancegate and the cuts. Allowancegate: they think it's going to go away, but it's never going to go away.