Hot on the heels of food banks are places to keep warm this winter. Birmingham has just become the latest council announcing measures to provide or highlight so-called “warm banks” – by pledging to “map out spaces across the city where people can go to keep warm”.
Councillor John Cotton, who is the cabinet member at the Labour-run local authority, said: “Whether that’s local community centres, places of worship or libraries, we want to help people to find places where they will be welcomed, free of charge.”
Clearly at odds with central government and keen to score political points, he added: “It should not be the case that people cannot afford to keep their homes warm, but that is the reality that we are facing here in Birmingham.” Presumably there is space in the budget that allows this benevolent council to turn up the heating and keep public places open 24 hours a day?
At the same time, Birmingham City Council and others are taking eye-watering sums of money from every single household – money that could have been used to, say, heat homes? Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi – Chancellor at least until the conclusion of the Tory leadership race - bleats about giving (returning) money and assistance to households with incomes up to £45,000.
Surely, I can’t be the only one who can see that there would be far less need for so much government interference if income tax was lower and fuel bills weren’t made so much higher by 5% VAT and 25% Green Subsidies? The energy price cap is an abject failure. Its biggest achievement to date has been to remove all competition from the big corporations and give them a complete oligopoly.
At both national and local level, government is currently doing its level best to make itself essential, to justify its existence – when the best thing it could do for everyone is to let tens of thousands of civil servants go to wealth-earning roles in the private sector and keep out of markets they clearly know nothing about.
Over-governance is killing this country.
Martin Day – Party Secretary