Public services are in a bit of flux at the moment. With the political debate in Westminster being about how deep cuts are going to have to be rather than whether they will happen, the various public bodies are running around looking busy.
Here in Sutton is no different. We are slowly grinding to a point that we might be able to put a spade in the ground and build a new school. We are still waiting to buy the land from the NHS Primary Care Trust. The Epsom & St Helier NHS Trust are seeking planning permission to build a new wing on the St Helier hospital site. Sutton Housing Partnership, having acheived a two star rating from a government inspector, are looking to start a major repair plan for the social housing in the Borough. All of this is to be done using government money, £38m, £220m and £112m respectively. What’s the common link, they’re all competing in trying to push the projects forward to demonstrate progress before Whitehall comes a-knockin’ and looking to see who’s is the first budget to cut. It seems to be a super version of when roads and parks around the borough get spruced up before the end of the financial year.
The whole process remind me of an old joke when two hunters see a lion eyeballing them. One starts putting on a pair of Nikes. The other explains that they wouldn’t be able to outrun a lion even with a change of shoes. The first hunter says, “That’s fine. As long as I can outrun you.”