Remember: facts are sacred comment is free, etc.
Behind every great headline there is a great agenda. No surprises in finding out that The Graun’s data blog reveals that it is the Labour voting heartlands and inner cities that appear to be taking the brunt of the ConDem cuts.
How does all of this data crunching stand up here in Sunny Colch? Politically we are neither Red nor Blue; we sit somewhere in the political wilderness [ARF!] with a LibLab cabinet at Colchester Borough Council.
If The Graun’s data crunching political deprivation theory is to stack up, where does this leave a local authority that doesn’t fit into the ideological model being put forward?
The handy Graun data map does highlight Sunny Colch as standing out amongst our True Blue Tory voting Essex neighbours. We appear to be relatively affluent, with Cuts per Head between £1 – £25. The Tendring Tories meanwhile are in the £25 – £50 category.
It’s a similar story across the borders in the Conservative heartlands of Chelmsford, Braintree and Maldon. So much for the marriage of data crunching and political theory.
We like to think that Colchester is a great place in which to live and work. Look beyond the CBC marketing bumph, and it does appear that this is a genuine reason as to why so many folk choose to relocate here.
The key to this of course is in the ‘work’ part of the equation. Life on the breadline – be it in Britain’s Oldest Recorded or up in Birmingham, ain’t exactly a bed of roses.
And so before we go chest beating that Colchester somehow overturns The Graun’s handy data crunching ideological exercise, you need to accept that poverty is a daily struggle to try and overcome in Sunny Colch.
The figures reveal that 2.6% of the population in the town is claiming benefits. Worryingly this figure rises to 3.8% when it comes to youth claimants, although the national figure is higher on 5.4%.
Child poverty reveals that a striking 16.9% of children in Colchester are classified as living in poverty. The national figure is 20.6%
Let’s look for solutions – what is the LibLab Cabinet at CBC doing about this?
“I am proud that we have never cut welfare grants. We are actually increasing these this year.”
The October Cabinet meeting approved the paper Supporting Customers in Welfare Reform.
Cabinet was asked to:
“Note the actions being taken to support customers through Welfare Reform.”
This they did, although not before noting:
“There are also a number of risks for the Council and a number of our partners. These include a risk that is will become harder to collect Council Tax, rent and other payments.”
Now there’s data crunching for you.