Sunday, 27 February 2011

Why you should join the anti-cuts protest at Brent Town Hall tomorrow

Labour Brent Council promised to protest the most vulnerable from local government cuts, particularly as these groups had already been hit by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition cuts in benefits and the housing benefit cap, with children hit by the ending of the Building Schools for the Future Programme and the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance.

But the Labour Council's cuts and increased charges will hit the same groups:
  •  £2.25m cuts in Children's Centres with reduced staffing and three centres that will not now open affecting the futures of children in poorer families
  • Cutting the portage service which helps families with children with disabilities
  • Reduced funding for children's social care affecting child in care and payments to adopting families
  • Reduced funding for services for children with special educational needs and disabilities including the end of the Easter Play Scheme
  • Cutting the funding of the Young Carers who provide support and respite for young people who look after older siblings or parents
  • Cuts in the School Improvement Service which supports schools in difficulty and ensures the quality of provision is maintained
  • Closure of the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre which generations of Brent children have used to get hands on experience of science and environmental education (negotiations are in progress with a private sponsor to take over funding)
  • Closure of 6 out of 12 libraries with, in addition, Willesden Green Library Centre closed for two years if a private developer can be found
  • The closure of the Charteris Sports Centre which is the only community resource in its area
  • The closure of Youth Clubs in Wembley and St Raphaels which have enabled youngsters to train in sports and other activities giving them self-confidence and motivation, and cutting Connexions which gives support and guidance to young people on the way to education, training and employment
  • Increased council rents hitting families already hit by the economic recession
  • Closure of day centres for people with disabilities and mental health problems
  • The sacking of park wardens who keep our parks and open spaces safe thus increasing their usage by children and older people, replacing them with a mobile patrol visiting less frequently 
  • Closure of the Brent Law Centre which gives advice and support to precisely those people who are being hit by Coalition, and now Council, cuts.
  • Loss of many jobs in Brent Council and in the longer term in schools,  increasing local unemployment  and the number of children living in poverty. 
This will be disastrous for the people of the Brent and the long-term impact will be much more expensive to put right than the money saved in the short-term. But it is not just a question of money - we know from past experience that early intervention works but if problems are left too long the result is ruined lives, lost potential and a community under siege.  We cannot let that happen.

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