I have long believed this government to be inept, but this week's example of quite how inept has left me fuming. Part of the deal to take the additional housing that the government wants is that the infrastructure required to support it will all be provided, either by developers or by the government. Cambridgeshire has received substantial amounts of money in the past (as have other areas) to fund some of the infrastructure. When the government announced last month that it proposed to build thousands of new affordable homes we all wondered where the money was going to come from. Now we know! Part of the answer has been to raid what is called the Housing Growth Fund - and the cost to Cambridgeshire is some 50% of this year's allocation, amounting to around £6m. This is where it is so stupid - that money would have been spent on helping to bring forward developments that would have contributed to the government's target of providing more affordable homes. So robbing Peter to pay Paul, will in effect, delay the provision of more and much needed affordable housing in this area.
My reaction has been to demand that we start a policy of non-cop-operation with the government. Most people only reluctantly accept all the new developments and if the government is going to renege on its side, then I don't see why we should co-operate. In essence, we should threaten to abandon Northstowe.
Andrew Lansley has called for a meeting with the local government minister, John Healey. I have asked Andrew's office whether I can be part of the delegation, since the impact on this area is huge.
I will keep you posted
PS - and where is the money being spent? answer - shoring up the Labour vote in the Midlands and north of the country. I call that tantamount to buying votes.