Don’t pretend ‘efficiency’ is the solution

I AGREE with your correspondent, Mr Johnson from Cullercoats (News Guardian, January 26) that the use of the word ‘efficiencies’ in relation to the council’s budget is not suitable.

I would go further and say it is misleading.

The £47.5m saving by ‘efficiencies’ implies that despite reductions in expenditure the same or an even better level of service will still be provided.

This is clearly not the case.

Since this is over a four-year period, it also implies that almost £12m a year is being spent currently to no effect. This is also not so.

The idea that outside organisations can run various services at lower cost to council tax payers depends on volunteers working without payment, possible higher charges and reductions in VAT and business rates.

The latter reductions are mere book-keeping exercises.

They will reduce the local rate burden, but they will also reduce national revenue and will have to be made good by other tax increases or by further cuts in national programmes.

There is widespread agreement that the national budget deficit must be reduced and local government is part of that.

But please, let us be honest about the impact of the cuts and not pretend that ‘efficiency’ can somehow be the solution in North Tyneside.