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Sure Start threatened
Protesters gathered outside the Sure Start centre in Calmore, Southampton to express their dismay at the threat to children's services. The centres were saved five years ago after a vigorous campaign by service users. In its latest round of cuts, Hampshire County Council is proposing to slash £8.5 million from children's services by closing 54 children's centres across Hampshire and wants to combine all children's services in the remaining centres. The eleven so-called hub centres will prove difficult for people to access. The closure of the centres would mean over-stretched services and would lead to many more problems in the future. The Hampshire Save our Children's Centres campaign group will hold a protest outside the council on the 13 May followed by a deputation to the council meeting.
Jane Ward, Southampton Socialist Party
Councillors in Waltham Forest, east London, met on 3 March to vote on a budget proposal which includes almost £10 million of cuts. The mood from the councillors seemed to be that they had no choice in the matter, even though the council holds £10.6 million in the bank as a 'rainy day fund.' On top of that there is a further £78 million in allocated reserves assigned to certain areas of the budget. The reserves offer an option to avoid the cuts this year and save vital services. If the proposal goes ahead the result will be the privatisation of all children's centres in the borough and major cuts to day services for adults with learning disabilities. Instead of gutting local services and further privatisation, the option of using the reserves coupled with the use of borrowing powers should be used to avoid cuts. This would allow time to link up with other Labour councils nationally and begin a mass campaign to fight for the money back.
Henry Williams, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
In The Socialist 9 March 2016:
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