John Harris

Journalist & Author

End of austerity? A silent crisis in local services tells the true story | John Harris

From buses to potholes to swimming pools, Osborne’s axe is slashing the basics of any civilised society

If your childhood happened between the mid-1970s and early 80s, you will probably recall a particularly miserable symbol of that era’s reduced budgets and shrinking horizons: the broken-down, litter-strewn park.

Slides would be so caked in mud as to make them unusable; roundabouts wouldn’t go round; grass would go uncut. I grew up in suburban Cheshire, and even there, the same applied: in amid the fag ends, dog shit and broken bottles, a weird sense of times so topsy-turvy that places meant to deliver happiness had become a byword for a kind of low-level sadness. Is there a more forlorn sight than a broken swing?

Related: Autumn statement: Osborne isn’t fixing the roof, he’s eroding the foundations | Mariana Mazzucato

The chancellor’s hopeless offers of assistance extend into the distance

Appears to be a 56% cut to Govt funding for local councils table 2.1 p78 AS – did I miss that in Chancellor’s speech? #spendingreview

Related: David Cameron hasn’t the faintest idea how deep his cuts go. This letter proves it | George Monbiot

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