When it comes to public service cuts, there have been many dark days over the past decade and a half.

Nothing seems to work anymore. People are pulling out their own teeth because they can’t access an NHS dentist. Waiting lists, already rising sharply before the pandemic, have now reached record highs. Schools are literally crumbling. Our criminal justice system is simply not working for many victims.

The Conservatives’ never-ending austerity programme has also had a catastrophic impact on the local services delivered by Suffolk County Council. Children’s centres have closed, bus services have been lost, the number of health visitors have more than halved, and fire and rescue services have been eroded.

Yet, while we have had dark days before, they have rarely felt as bleak as yesterday, with the Conservative-administration at Suffolk County Council waving through cuts amounting to nearly £65 million.

While not absolving them of their past decisions, or of their weak attempts to secure desperately needed funding from their friends in Westminster, they shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame - Suffolk County Council has had to endure funding reductions amounting to nearly £130 million since 2010.

However, the Government recently provided Suffolk County Council with £7.2 million of funding. While only a sticking plaster, it was a new pot of money which could have been used to save some crucial services, such as housing related support which plays a vital role in preventing and relieving homelessness.

In light of this, district and borough council leaders from across Suffolk came together, cross-party, to urge Suffolk County Council to change its mind before it was too late. Charities and organisations such as The Benjamin Foundation, Sanctuary Supported Living, and YMCA Trinity did the same.

It provoked an extraordinarily aggressive and tone deaf tirade from the beleaguered leader of Suffolk County Council. He tried to claim that the council was prioritising its statutory duties, despite rarely meeting special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) requirements under his six-year leadership. Even more bizarrely, he tried to stress that his party was making these cuts to 'prioritise vulnerable people'...while at the same time cutting services designed to support vulnerable people.

Most tellingly of all, Cllr Hicks was so consumed by pointing his finger of blame elsewhere and trying to protect his reputation, he forgot to apologise for, or even acknowledge, the human cost of his decision. Perhaps after years of SEND failures, he thought another ‘sorry’ would simply ring hollow.

In the end, he and his party chose to put the vast majority of this new money back into reserves, while ploughing ahead with cuts to housing support and other public services.

The Conservatives have been warned repeatedly about the impact of their cuts. Hundreds of vulnerable people could now be made homeless. Another attack on children’s centres will see families suffer from a third round of closures, with other child and family support services facing miserable futures too. Devastating staff cuts - which could result in more than 200 job losses - will again hit the delivery of frontline public services which are already under huge strain.

Despite having the chance to reflect on the damage they would cause, despite having every opportunity to change their mind, despite having an injection of money to help reverse some of their cuts, the Conservatives decided to push on anyway. They have made a political choice, wilfully hurting children, families and vulnerable people in doing so.

I wonder whether those councillors who ruthlessly voted for those shattering cuts will sleep soundly this evening, or if they will lie awake, thinking about their needless decision to slash funding which provides 700 beds for vulnerable people.

Jack Abbott is Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich