Remember the LibDem statements before the election that an early slashing of public expenditure might hurt the recovery?
Hollow promises, and local authorities, with Fire and Rescue and Police Authorities, are now digesting the first of what I guess will be several raids on community services.
There will be £1.2 billion of cuts to local government this year alone.
In Darlington, £2.5 million is being stripped from the local authority. This amounts to the following;
Supporting People: £114,000
Road safety £43,000
Home office £16,000
In addition, the Council, together with its partners in health, the emergency services and the voluntary sector, had been awarded £1,800,000 by the last Government for good performance - this money would have been invested in further service improvement. That has been cancelled by the Coalition.
The people of Darlington are also losing £380,000 in transport capital cash.
The cuts aren't ring-fenced - in other words savings could be made in other areas to make up for the shortfalls in cash - but the priorities of the Coalition are clear. Education, roads and services for vulnerable adults are all under attack.
There is an urgent need for social housing across the country - the Housing budget nationally is losing £146 million. It's not yet clear what the effect here in Darlington will be.
It's too early to say what the impact on services here in Darlington will be, and the Council and partners will have to crunch through the figures.
I haven't been blogging regularly for a couple of weeks, and for the most part have been sitting open-mouthed at the brazen affrontery of some of the statements coming out of the new Government. For all their posturing, this is most certainly going to be the most cycnical and value-free Government this country has experienced since the mid-Victorian era.
Making hurried cuts mid-year is always hard - the absence of detailed planning means that these cuts can bite hardest. Residents can be sure that whatever the LibDem/Tory coalition may decree from Westminster, Labour locally will do everything it can to protect the services residents value most.