UKIP councillors in Hampshire are joining forces with Labour and the Unison and Unite trade unions to oppose spending cuts from the Conservative-run county council.

The Hampshire Chronicle reports:

UKIP is inviting Lib Dem and Labour councillors and Unison and Unite trade unions to a summit in Winchester on November 11 to devise a strategy that avoids cuts to jobs and services.

Cllr Tony Hooke, deputy UKIP leader, is concerned there is a target to reduce the council workforce of 40,000 by 1,800 – including a 10 per cent cut in senior management.

He says:

“If we can save one job it’s a result, if we can save all 1,800, well that’s something else.”

The council has reduced its annual pay bill by £46 million and plans further savings of £32 million. They have reduced running costs while protecting front line services.

Reducing spending while maintaining services is a credible objective. The Conservatives in Hampshire can be proud of meeting this challenge. However trying to also avoid reducing staffing levels is unrealistic. It could be avoided by a really big Council Tax increase. Is that what UKIP’s Hampshire councillors favour? If so their idea that it would “save jobs” is misguided. UKIP have not taken into account the way that tax increases destroy jobs in the private sector.

If UKIP members think that tax and spending are the answer to unemployment they should consider what is happening in France.

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