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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 April 2011

Hands off our services

Westminster

Elizabeth O'Hara

'Save Our Children's Services Westminster' organised a lively and effective protest on 8 April against Westminster council's cuts. At 7am campaign member Finola Inger was interviewed on BBC Radio London - she criticised Westminster councillors for voting through a 20% cut to children's services whilst rejecting a proposal to cut their own expenses by 10%.

Then at 8am, BBC Radio London questioned Nicola Aiken, Westminster cabinet member for children and young people, about the cuts. She was forced to answer questions on the generous expenses councillors receive. Aiken argued that central government had made cuts, so Westminster must do the same. There was no reference to the needs of the borough's children and parents.

At 10.30am, about 50 campaign supporters, including children, gathered outside City Hall, wearing 'hands off' t-shirts and carrying banners and placards. We created a children's play area on the pavement with chalk, musical instruments and balloons. Passers-by took leaflets and signed our petition.

Our message was that we do not accept that there is no money to fund children's services in Westminster. There is still money for things like expensive consultants and executive pay.

We presented 500 petition signatures to Michael O'Connor, Director of Children's Services, as Ms Aiken herself was unavailable. Parents invited O'Connor to come and speak to the children who would be affected by the cuts Westminster plans. He declined.

Campaigners were supported at the lobby by Westminster Anti-cuts Alliance and Westminster Unison. The support for our protest shows that many Westminster residents do not agree with the cuts and want properly funded children's services in the borough. The campaign continues.

Please send protest messages to Nicola Aiken, cabinet member for children and young people, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP or to info@westminster.gov.uk, copying them to the campaign: socswestminster@gmail.com or SOCSW, 3A Lydford Road, London W9 3LU.

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In The Socialist 13 April 2011:


Anti-cuts campaigning

NHS IN THE FIRING LINE

Vote socialist to fight the cuts

Fight the cuts by supporting TUSC

Fighting the cuts after 26 March demo

Hands off our services - Westminster

Hands off our Services - Leeds


Socialist Party editorial

Middle East and North Africa


Socialist Party feature

Con-Dems' economic policy... austerity, austerity, austerity!


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