The years of reckless spending in the pursuit of airport expansion are sadly now becoming apparent in the town of Luton.
Frontline staff who affect the lives of many of the most vulnerable and needy in our society, now have the added stress of wondering which of themselves, or their colleagues, will be among the 365 potential redundancies in the planned cuts by Luton Borough Council(LBC), due to the current and future loss of airport income.
Real people dealing with the real poverty and deprivation issues that exist now in 2020, sacrificed on the Altars of Ego of Councillors and officers who aren’t interested in the now, just the kudos of having their names attached to defeating those twin evils by 2040 – this is the fantasy that fuels the Council’s obsession with airport expansion at any cost.
The propaganda line put out again by the three architects of their own downfall, Councillors Simmons and Malcolm, and CEO Mr Porter, is that austerity cuts and Covid-19 are solely to blame for the current situation.
Their video release has a hint of veiled threat that if residents don’t sign the petition to Government for the £50 million bailout because of the “special” circumstances they are in, these cuts and worse are what will be inflicted on them.
This is a time when people need reassurance, but instead they get frightening and unsettling words. The same threatening line runs through the actual submission to Government: if you don’t give us the money, these cuts will be your fault not ours, and you’ll have to sort out our mess.
Did the town’s residents or Government sign a deal in 2016 to give concession income back to the airport operator, to falsely create an expansion boom, rather than invest in budgets and reserves first? NO – LBC did.
Did the town’s residents or Government give the consent to the DART airport-rail link project at a minimal cost of £225 million, rather than invest in budget and reserves? NO – LBC did.
Did the town’s residents or Government give the consent to the Development Consent Order project for airport expansion? NO – LBC did.
Previous articles list the debts these projects have brought, though it is enlightening to see that another £20 million is being sunk, (literally as they’ve wasted £30 million already on flawed expert advice), into that DCO process at a time when the budget deficit for 2020/21 is a mere £22 million. Priorities obviously still prevail, even when LBC say they have no cash to spend.
LBC show the same level of priority, when rather than cancel all thoughts of borrowing a minimum of £124 million to build its Terminal 2 access road, they just put that off until 2021.
LBC are desperate for money, but more than happy to “strategically” borrow and invest another £144 million minimum, chasing an extra 14 million passengers for its airport.
They’d rather do this than face the reality that they have an 18 million passengers per annum airport now virtually empty.
That the main airlines there have demanded massive long term cuts in the fees and charges they pay to restart flights, or they will move them elsewhere or just stop them.
That this in turn will reduce revenue to such an extent, that servicing the debts they have on airport projects, will take even more money from services, if the Council is to even cover those debts at all, and that more jobs will have to be cut and more essential services savaged, not just in the Town Hall, but across the airport itself.
All these realities don’t seem to matter. It’s as if it’s “well we can’t get out of this hole anyway, let’s just keep digging”.
Look through the smokescreen, don’t believe the threats, the cuts will happen anyway to prop up the airport at any cost.
Save jobs in Luton Now
Save essential services to the vulnerable and needy Now
Stop Luton Airport Expansion