Across Scotland, Public Sector managers are gearing up to bring in a range of cuts the size and nature of which will be savage and unprecedented. It will result in damaged communities and wrecked lives. At present the worst has yet to be exposed and the language seeks to hide the reality; for ‘delayering’ read enforced unemployment and penury on £65 a week for many public servants with of course the consequent loss of services for us all.

These cuts are being presented to us as unavoidable and necessary to ‘balance the Nation’s books’ but where did these debts that we have to pay come from? They are the private debts of the Banks and their shareholders that the government has nationalised in the hope of enforcing ‘private riches, public poverty’.

Imaginary lifestyles

The recent report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies on the emergency budget showed that it hit the poorest worse and since then the Chancellor has announced another £4 billion in welfare cuts against ‘welfare lifestyle’ beneficiaries. Of course, outside the fevered imagination of some newspaper editors, these people do not exist. This propaganda is part of the attack to disarm those who consider that, if we are to pay the banks’ debts, it should be done by the bankers first (£10 billion in personal bonuses for last year alone) and then those most able to pay. If our household income drops we don’t throw out Granny, reduce the food for our kids and stop heating the house; but this appears to be the UK Government’s policy.

This of course makes the work of regeneration triply difficult by threatening resources, creating even greater problems and undoing the good work that has been done to date. A sign of the times is that the Regional Development Authorities in England (the equivalent of Scottish Enterprise Network) has been closed down and their staff are currently being fired and our English equivalent, BURA, has gone into liquidation, reflecting the pressures on regeneration in particular.

In these circumstances the continued solidarity that SURF members can bring to each other through sharing information, sharing our experiences and establishing joint work, amongst other things, can help us all to deal with the onslaught that is coming. It is only by working together that we will be able to generate the responses needed to defend individuals, our communities and our services.

Editor’s note

This is the final Scotregen ‘View from the Chair’ by Ian Wall who stood down from that position at the recent SURF AGM. Scotregen and SURF more generally, have benefited hugely form Ian’s unflagging support and dedication over recent years and we look forward to his continuing involvement as Vice Chair in the future. Stephen Maxwell will offer his ‘view’ as the new SURF Chair in the next issue of Scotregen.