Peter Robson, Bradford Socialist Party
Bradford Socialist Party recently found out that the Edmund Street day centre in the city is closing.
The centre has been in existence for 40 years, providing services to the poor and homeless of Bradford since 1976.
It is due to close its doors for the last time on 1 December, with this essential service being transferred to the Salvation Army building, after they were awarded the contract by Bradford’s Labour Council. This building is much smaller and at the top of a steep hill outside of the city centre.
This is a disgraceful situation. The probation service, social services and the NHS have often made referrals there – it is literally keeping people alive at times.
With benefits cuts also kicking in, you can see the issues in cities and towns like this up and down the country. Many service users have said that they will not be able to get to the new centre due to finance or health issues.
However, it is not only the service users that are worried. Staff places are not being guaranteed and a lesser service and a race to the bottom in terms and conditions is likely.
The council’s response was to say that it was awarded to the Salvation Army after a competitive tendering process. And there is the problem – vulnerable people have become pawns in a ‘competitive tendering process’ which takes no account of their needs, just a money saving exercise.
This Labour run council is sitting on millions of pounds of reserves. When the Socialist Party has challenged them to use their reserves, their response has always been that the money is for a rainy day. Well to continue the metaphor, it is a torrent now!
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