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Mayor Dave: Government’s Grubby £1 billion DUP Bung Beggars Belief as Punishing Cuts for Bedford Borough Continue

June 27, 2017 5:14 PM

Dave Hodgson with Town Bridge behindMayor Dave Hodgson has contrasted the £1 billion in extra spending for Northern Ireland the Conservatives have announced to buy the support of the DUP with the ongoing cuts and closures the government is imposing on Bedford Borough and elsewhere.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "What an utter disgrace. While the government threatens a Bedford Hospital downgrade, underfunds our struggling police force and slashes funding for care for the vulnerable, it can bung £1 billion to Northern Ireland to buy votes under its grubby political deal.'

"It almost beggars belief that they can do this so brazenly. Meanwhile, areas like ours await long-overdue road and rail improvements and suffer punishing cuts to government-funded services."

The £1 billion of additional spending for Northern Ireland comes as Bedford Borough faces a wide array of government cuts and closures including:

  • The ongoing threat of a severe downgrade of Bedford Hospital, despite an increasing need for services amongst a growing and ageing local population. The previous review of the hospital proposed the removal of Bedford's maternity services.
  • Brutal cuts in funding for Council services including care for the elderly and vulnerable, with the Council's main government grant being slashed from over £30 million in 2015 down to under £6 million in 2019.
  • Chronic, severe underfunding of Bedfordshire Police Force, which Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary recently identified as the worst-performing in the country.
  • The announced closure of Bedford's Magistrates' Court in the heart of town.