Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?
Shropshire Council says it may need to make another £9.6 million in savings. And the way the next few years are panning out, Shropshire has to brace itself for further massive cuts.
What we could see is a sea change in which the council is unable to provide some services directly, and the best it can do, and best it can afford, is to facilitate them.
The message is: pain today, more pain tomorrow.
It is pointless to cast around looking for blame. There are various culprits from which you can choose, ranging from the last government’s debt legacy to the current administration’s inability to turn things round and make any meaningful improvement.
Some people would no doubt place the blame more locally. It is all part of the political argy-bargy at national and local level.
The bottom line is that a huge responsibility falls on the shoulders of the council rulers to make sure every last penny of the authority is spent wisely and the council is run as a sleek, slimline, but highly efficient organisation.
There is no room for manoeuvre. Pet projects and speculative projects will have to be reassessed.
Senior officers at the council would justify their salaries on the basis that they are what they would receive in the private sector.
Nobody will like the cuts that will inevitably come, but they will like them a lot less if they see that there is waste and inefficiency in other areas.
Now is the time for some private sector thinking and private sector practices in which this big organisation cuts its cloth according to its means.
And now is the time for those at the top at the council to earn their crust and ensure council taxpayers get value for money.