In an era of brutal cuts, one ordinary place has the imagination to fight back | Aditya Chakrabortty

These are bleak times for progressives, but in Preston a socialist Dragons’ Den is proving to be inspirational

The story of local government today can be summed up in one word: cuts. Brutal, life-changing, future-cancelling cuts. As many as 1,000 children’s centres have been closed by English councils since David Cameron took office in 2010. Almost 130 libraries closed across Britain last year alone. That’s people with disabilities trapped in their homes, grandparents denied adequate care and lifeline bus services scrapped.

This is news that rarely makes the news. It is announced through notices tied around lamp-posts, rather than in the national newspapers. When Cameron and George Osborne designed their historic spending cuts to fall most heavily on local government, this was the outcome they wanted: private tragedies delivered through tens of thousands of brown envelopes plopping on to doormats across the land, rather than one glaring public outrage. Yet stack them all together and you can make two big bets about this country’s future.

Related: In 2011 Preston hit rock bottom. Then it took back control | Aditya Chakrabortty

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