People often talk about politicians breaking their promises and Nick Clegg’s tuition fees pledge springs to mind. David Cameron has broken quite a few promises too but there’s one pledge he hasn’t broken. He told Jeremy Paxman before the last election that the North East would suffer devastating public service cuts. He has been true to his word.
The Tories set out their manifesto pledges in 2010 with the aim of shaking off their image as the nasty party with talk of a ‘big society’, remember that? They promised not to impose top down reorganisation on the NHS and subsequently spent £3bn on a top down reorganisation of the NHS.
The Tories pledged not to raise VAT and then did so, costing people around the country dearly. They pledged to introduce a cap on bankers bonuses but didn’t. In fact the Tories have broken so many promises that they tried to delete the entire internet history from their website. They attempted to delete ten years of speeches, including one from Cameron himself on how the internet would make information more available to people.
Back in 2010 David Cameron appeared on Newsnight and said that the public sector in the North East was too big and indicated that it would need to be cut back. On this particular promise he has been true to his word and public services in the region have suffered as a result.
Despite the fact that unemployment in the North East is already the highest in the UK the Tories have slashed funding and jobs in the region. North East councils have faced cuts three times greater than councils in the South East. In simple terms the Tories have taken £1,000 from every man, woman and child in the region.
These cuts are affecting vital frontline services that people rely on. Cuts of up to 20% to the North East Ambulance Service have meant that people have waited up to six hours for an ambulance. So David Cameron has indeed kept his pledge to cut public services in the region and it’s the people of the North East who are suffering. Proof of one other thing that turned out to be a broken promise; that we are ‘all in this together’.
Roberta Blackman-Woods is Labour’s Shadow Communities Minister and Labour candidate for City of Durham.