I wasn’t too surprised about the outcome of decisions by the Cabinet in my two previous posts – they may talk about inclusiveness, but appear to be unable or unwilling to do much about it, and when it comes to cuts, the vulnerable are an easy target for a Tory council.
But the mixed decisions on the assistance to the Town Centre economy was a bit unexpected (to me, at least). Basically, over the past year, the Council has been providing some help to local businesses to get through the recession. A report was presented tonight that recommended a slew of actions, including extensions to some of that assistance (primarily Moving In Grants and Shopfront Grants to encourage new businesses and renewal of existing ones). I had expected that there would be some commitment to carry these on, at least for the duration, but basically, any recommendation that cost any money was either rejected or to be deferred until the 2010-11 budget (which means that it can’t realistically happen until after April).
Thinking about it, it’s not that much of a surprise. I don’t think that the Tories understand the idea of spending a bit during a recession to reduce it’s effect and then hasten recovery. They certainly don’t get it at national level (with George Osborne demonstrating his economic vapidity at almost every turn), but I had hopes that the local brand of Tory were a bit more sensible. Seems that they are ready to stop assisting the economy at just the time when we are about to hopefully come out of recession – which is the time when we are at most risk of a relapse if assistance is stopped.