Public partying – or cutbacks? The priorities are wrong!

Reacting to government’s announcement of a number of plans for celebrations of various events (Cavalcade, National Day, Pride and others that may still be rolled out) Equality Rights Group/Action on Poverty have announced they will not participate in Pride 2022 ‘nor any other public partying event while government fails to really address poverty and need in our community. We especially regret this as we are fully aware of the efforts that have gone into organising the upcoming Pride event, as well as the important contribution the administration has made to advancing people’s rights over the past decade. A lot more still remains, however. And ERG/AOP will always be willing to work collaboratively to achieve betterment for our community.’

The group asks ‘If there’s money for public partying, why’s there no money (real help not electioneering patches), for the poor and vulnerable? Whether organised or funded by the administration with sponsorship at times from private and semi-private companies, the priorities are all wrong! First, let’s help the elderly and vulnerable.

‘It’s difficult for ordinary people to believe government when it says things are so bad that they really must cut back on people’s medicines, charge more for essential health cover, reduce a series of services, and yet not cut back on their party plans. It defies common sense that we’re faced with one sort of messaging from government regarding the seriousness of the economic crisis, whilst all the time private companies, egged on by the administration,have spare cash to spend. Where’s the crisis, then?

‘Let’s face it, if there’s money for this, there’s money for that.

‘Or,at least, isn’t belt-tightening for all also supposed to mean consistent,prudent behaviour by those in power? Instead, and in particular, government needs to bring a sharp focus to finding resolution for people affected by still-standing grievances on Community Care. No less important are the many who have been kept shamefully waiting for years by government in the hope of being
finally granted a basic modern democratic right: to be fully and collectively represented by their unions. Despite the publication of a Command Paper ushering in the change, hope has been left gathering dust.

‘ERG/AOP has been speaking to government, away from the headlines. We’ve made a case for reining in spending on public partying in favour of a fair economic approach for all; one more consistent with a focus on better delivering to those in need as part of a national plan, whilst recognising the legitimacy of good housekeeping and avoiding wastage.

‘We have failed to convince the Chief Minister that monies spent on partying could best be destined towards services to reduce the impact of government’s cutbacks on the elderly and economically vulnerable. It’s regrettable that the Administration,in the middle of a cost of living crisis that becomes more and more evident as the weeks go by, with energy and general inflation going through the roof, prefers to announce and encourage spending on events at the same time as it introduces policing of people’s medications, increases the age for prescription exemption, but doesn’t resolve important citizens’ issues. The priorities are skewed.

‘As a committed human and civil rights organisation, ERG/AOP cannot support these inconsistencies. While the community deserves to celebrate, it is unjustifiable right now to spend, spend, spend (whether by government or private companies) monies that, instead, should go to alleviating the situation of vulnerable and low-income persons in our community.

‘In all honesty we cannot feel proud of these facts.

‘We call on Government in its forthcoming Budget to seriously favour the low-income and vulnerable by introducing food and energy subsidies in line with recommendations by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Click here to see today’s opinion article for further details.

‘As it does every year, ERG/AOP therefore welcomes the raising of the equality and diversity flag which symbolises solidarity and caring. ERG/AOP, however, will be celebrating by donating two-thousand pounds each to the EV Foundation and the Generous Hearts charities,both doing notable work in helping to alleviate the situation of those in need.

‘We call on members of the public and businesses to similarly mark diversity June month by donating in proud solidarity; and to press their politicians to act in coherence.’