THE disconnect is striking. We report that Winchester is at the top of the ‘jobs league’ with an estimated 2,000 vacancies. This newspaper also discloses on the front page that the county council is consulting on the closure of the Merrydale respite centre in Kings Worthy that helps families of children with learning disabilities.

So on the one hand we have evidence of a booming economy coupled with a local authority that says it is under such financial pressure that is considering closing a facility that is described by one mother as a “lifesaver”.

That same authority, Hampshire County Council, has deliberately muzzled its council tax demands in recent years.

There is no avoiding the obvious. As a society we seem to have become addicted to low taxation even if the impact on the quality of social provision is highly detrimental.

The level of council tax has been held artificially low and now the county council is seeking to reduce its services, instead of increasing that council tax.

The people of Hampshire seem to be happy with this as the Conservatives are in complete control of the authority, since Southampton and Portsmouth became unitary authorities.

But we are gradually sleepwalking into a situation where, whilst many people are doing well, the public authorities that hold the safety net are finding it is increasingly threadbare. Is this what we really want?