I try not to be a doomsayer despite my history as an environmental campaigner. 

Rather than getting into politics I have tried to get things done on the ground, changing lives and supporting people.  But more and more I am hearing an unsophisticated political discourse around the NHS and care for the elderly, youth services and education – cut or crisis.  But surely there is a third way – not one I would naturally endorse but I feel the time has come.  And one I am not hearing from any mainstream public body.

I don’t claim that running a charity or business is the same as running a government but there are some truths that surely carry from one to the other. 

I’m talking about cuts. There are always efficiencies to be made and in hard times some things are not essential. Like the government, Creative Youth Network has tried to make sure our offer of services is as efficient and effective as possible.  At the same time we are trying to increase our income from the hires and rents of our building – the best way we can create unrestricted funding that can subsidise the gaps.  But there is a point at which any further cuts means we simply have to help less people or choose who we help.

The same is happening in government services almost across the board. 

The NHS appears to have the worst bed crisis for a generation, care for the elderly is far too limited and is making the end of life a misery for some; prisons seem to be overwhelmed and schools are now talking about asking for voluntary contributions from parents. 

We see it in our own sector too.  Cuts in early intervention services means the costs simply pop up elsewhere.  A cut in social services support leads to an increase in young people in care, a reduction in preventative work by the Youth Offending Teams sees more young people getting criminal records, a reduction in youth services and a rise in mental health problems go hand in hand. 

So, there is only one real answer I can see. 

When the efficiencies are exhausted and the money is running out, we simply have to raise tax.  How we do it and who we tax should be as fair as possible.  Loopholes closed and big business forced to pay their way.  But raise money we must!  Without it, lives will be wasted and costs will continue to rise.  We need to get used to the idea that it costs significant amounts of money to run a modern, caring, high functioning state and the sooner we admit the cuts are now doing more damage than they are good the better.