MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Older people have been let down again say the Liberal Democrats in Haringey, after Labour-run Haringey Council revealed yesterday a botched attempt to backtrack on deeply unpopular leisure charges for older people.
Bowing to pressure from local residents and Lib Dems, Haringey Council partially reviewed their policy of axing free leisure facilities for over 65s but failed to support Lib Dem calls for a complete reversal.
Labour councillors rejected a Liberal Democrat motion to stop the leisure cut at last night’s Full Council meeting, and have decided to press ahead with the plan despite the opposition of many older people across the London Borough of Haringey. Labour’s controversial vote caused anger amongst the many older people watching the debate in the public gallery.
Cllr Richard Wilson, Lib Dem Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson, comments;
“This leisure cut plan is complete mess. Older people have not been consulted on this idea at all: it has not featured in any consultation documents or papers from Haringey Council, and seems to have been dreamed behind closed doors with no outside input.
“This restriction on when older people can use leisure centres for free will discourage those who need to keep active and independent from taking exercise.Many pensioners want to use leisure centres in the evenings and at weekends.
“One pensioner in my ward told me how she attends a disabled swim class at Park Road Pools on a weekday evening.Is she one of the people that the Labour wants to discourage from exercising with these new charges?’
Cllr David Winskill, Lib Dem Leisure, Culture and Lifelong Learning spokesperson adds:
“Haringey Labour councillors seem to live in a parallel universe where making a few phone calls means consultation. The current proposals are in complete chaos – policy made up on the hoof. We want them to suspend these cuts and talk to the people most affected to find out how the services can be improved and more use made of facilities.”