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Lincolnshire council leaders slam government, claim public services pushed to breaking point

Two Lincolnshire council leaders have heavily criticised the state of public services, claiming that the Conservative government has pushed them to the “breaking point.”

In a recent report from the Institute for Government (IfG), it was revealed that state services are performing worse than they were at the time of the 2019 General Election, and “substantially worse” than when the Conservatives first took office in 2010.

The IfG also pointed out that it is not plausible for whichever party wins the upcoming General Election on July 4 to stick to current spending plans.

West Lindsey leader Councillor Trevor Young (left) and South Kesteven District Council leader Councillor Ashley Baxter.
West Lindsey leader Councillor Trevor Young (left) and South Kesteven District Council leader Councillor Ashley Baxter.

This comes at a time when the performance of hospitals is arguably at its worst in the history of the NHS after nearly a year and a half of junior doctor strikes, and councils are being forced to close libraries and cut back on social care and waste collection.

West Lindsey District Council leader Trevor Young (Liberal Democrat) agreed that the health sector is particularly struggling, with local residents finding it difficult to access doctors and dentists.

Recent data reveals that around 75% of Lincolnshire’s eligible population had no access to an NHS dentist in the second half of last year, and as many as five dental practices have either cancelled their NHS contracts or converted to private offerings in the past 12 months.

Councillor Young stated: “We have a government that for years has promised more funding for public services, yet in reality, funding across all sectors has been cut.

“The NHS is in crisis; waiting lists are the longest in history, and people cannot access doctors and dentists locally. Social care is at breaking point, and councils are having to cut services such as libraries.

“Education has suffered from a lack of investment over the past 10 years, making it difficult to retain teachers in Lincolnshire.

“Local policing has been slashed to the bare minimum. Whoever controls the government on July 5 needs a more honest approach to how public services should be funded.”

South Kesteven District Council leader Ashley Baxter (Independent) shared his thoughts, insisting that local councils receive “far less” cash than they did in 2010.

“It’s no secret that local councils have far less cash available than in 2010. The evidence is everywhere in our deteriorating leisure centres and libraries, the lack of provision for young people and, perhaps most obviously, in the atrocious state of roads and pavements.

“This has been a deliberate strategy of the Conservative government who have expected councils to ‘make bricks without straw’ in the expectation that residents will blame local councillors for the decline in services and not the austerity and economic chaos inflicted by the procession of Prime Ministers we have suffered over the last 14 years.”

Conservative council leaders from across the county were also approached to comment on the report but failed to respond by the time of publication.

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