Friday, 25 February 2011

Local Press on Council Cuts

Here is another round-up of the local press on cuts. Don't forget there is a demonstration against Brent Council cuts organised by Brent Fightback from 6pm on Monday February 28th outside the Town Hall. WWO is the Wembley and Willesden Observer and WBT the Willesden and Brent Times. These are only brief notes so do buy the papers for the full story.

LIFELINE FOR SPECIAL NEEDS UNDER THREAT WWOp1  KIDS HIT BY LATEST CUTS WBTp1 Contrary to the Council's commitment to protect the front-line the portage service, which aims to give children with disabilities an equal chance in life is to be cut. A council spokeswoman admitted the service was important but said it was not legally required.
'RESTRUCTURING WON'T HARM CHILDREN'S SERVICES' WBTp2  PROMISE NOT TO CUT SURE START, BUT NO TO NEW CENTRES WWOp10  Despite cuts of £2.25m in children's centres, and not opening those at Sudbury, Cricklewood and Kingsbury. Denise Burke, Brent early years and childcare manager,  maintains that they will not affect the service and Cllr Mary Arnold says that young people are the victims of 'right-wing slash and burn attitudes to the welfare state' but expresses pride that 'we have found a way to protect all our centres'. However Sarah Teather MP, says that the government has put the same amount of money into the Sure Start pot but Brent Council has withdrawn £2.25m. She says children centres, services and staff are at risk.

LIB DEMS: WE CAN SAVE LIBRARIES WBTp2, OPPOSITION'S ALTERNATIVE BUDGET TO SAVE LIBRARIES AND CENTRE WWOp11  Lib Dems propose an alternative budget to the one being voted on on Monday. They propose axing the regeneration budget and using £2.2m Labour were going to put into reserves. the would not replace the director of housing, reduce the administration costs of the neighbourhood working scheme and remove the London Weighting from Hay Grade salaries.  Cllr Muhammed Butt says that the £2.2m put into reserves is a one-off grant: "If we use it this year what do we do next year? This is not spare cash." The Lib Dems claim their budget would enable libraries to stay open for a year while alternative plans are formulated to keep them open, they'd reinstate green zones, cut £1m from the CPZ charges, save the Welsh Harp Centre and reverse the children centres cuts.
MP ATTACKS PLANS TO AXE HALF LIBRARIES IN BOROUGH WBTp4 'CUT SALARIES BEFORE YOU CLOSE LIBRARIES' WWOp5  Speaking at the Save Preston Library public meeting, Barry Gardiner MP attacks Cllr Powney over library closures and says libraries are essential to any civilised society. He questioned why there are 50 people in Brent Council who earn as much as Eric Pickles.
WE BACK THE LIBRARIES BATTLE WBTp17 Brent Arts Council backs the Save Our Libraries campaigns.
CLEAR SUPPORT FOR ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SERVICE WBTp17 A Queens Park residents calls on the Council to listen to residents and adapt their policy on libraries accordingly.
MP'S VIEWS ON LIBRARY POLICY QUITE RIGHT WBTp17 Richard Cross attacks Cllr Ann John for suggesting that libraries not so important now that books are available at supermarkets, second hand and from Amazon.
NEW TORY COUNCILLOR WILL FIGHT TO KEEP BRENT LIBRARIES OPEN WWOp10 Suresh Kansagra, who won the Kenton by-election. pledge to keep fighting against library closures.

'USE IT OT LOSE IT' BID TO SAVE SPORTS CENTRE WBTp5 Simon Rogers of Brent Eleven Streets Residents Association seeks to save Charteris Sports Centre, the 'only community space' in the area and calls for the community to take it over. He says the worst scenario would be if the council gave them the centre without support 'but the most important thing for us is to keep the doors open'.
ANGER OVER THREAT TO LEGAL CENTRE WBTp7 After 'transformation project' as the word for library closures Brent Council has coined 'decommissioning' as the term for closing the Brent Law Centre. Former  Labour and Conservative councillors as well as current Lib Dems combine to criticise the move and say it will store up problems for the future. OUR VIEW WBTp17 Editorial making the case for the Law Centre and saying Monday's council meeting should not vote to cut it.

FEAR OF 'NO-GO AREAS' IF PARK WARDENS CUT WWOp13 PARC (Park Area Residents Campaign) are fighting to save the warden of Brent River Park (Tokyngton Rec. Monks Park) and fear that without the warden it will not be safe for families. Ten people will lose their jobs in park warden cuts and will be replaced by mobile teams.  Cllr Ann John campaigned for wardens eight years ago but says she has been forced to cut the funding and has no choice but to balance the books. She says if funding increases, wardens will be top of the list for reinstatement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Brent spokesperson speaking about Children's Centres was named as the Manager for Early Years, Denise Burke. Denise is not the manager for Early Years (in fact 'Early Years' is now (confusingly) known as Integrated Services). She is a consultant. She was brought into Brent as the Acting Head of (the then) Early years following the departure of the previous head, until the new head was appointed. A new head, Sue Gates, was appointed in October 2010. Why Denise is still there is a bit of a mystery (and no doubt a bit of a waste of money). A few other consultants are around in Early Years (and who knows where else) while frontline staff are losing their jobs and this is a bit of a sore point.