MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Reports of the Budget meeting of Haringey Council from Thursday show Labour in their true light – clapping and cheering as they cut youth services and day centres.
Labour voted to close older people’s day centres, cut youth services by £2 million (75%) and slash budgets for the voluntary sector. The Labour group rejected my Liberal Democrat colleagues’ alternative plans to further reduce the Council’s bureaucracy which would have saved day centres and reduced the effect of cuts on youth services, the voluntary sector and projects to tackle crime and unemployment.
Yes – cuts have to be made – by councils up and down this country. There is no money – thanks to Labour, the banks and a general buy now pay later – personal debt mountain.
However, where the cuts are made here in Haringey is entirely down to Labour – and this was their choice. There were very, very good alternatives put forward by the LibDem group which would have saved these very vulnerable services – but they were totally ignored by Labour.
This is from the news release sent out following the meeting:
Labour councillors cheered and applauded cuts to youth and older people’s services after they voted down opposition budget proposals to these protect front line services.
Labour also ignored the powerful last minute pleas by Haringey’s young people who were present at the meeting to ask Labour councillors why they were being targeted with 75% cuts when the Council’s overall budget faces a funding reduction of 13%.
Cllr Robert Gorrie, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, comments:
“I was shocked by the actions of a minority of protesters last night but what angered me more was the behaviour of the Labour group.
“They say they care about front line services and vulnerable residents, yet when faced with alternative proposals which would save some services for our older residents, help mitigate the cuts to youth centres, the voluntary sector and projects to tackle crime and unemployment, they reject them.
“Labour is more worried about playing the blame game of national politics rather than making the right choices Haringey’s residents.”
The plans to reverse Labour’s closure of older people’s day centres, drop-in centres and luncheon clubs which were part of the Liberal Democrat’s alternative budget proposals were contained in five amendments.
Liberal Democrats set out their choices for spending priorities which would protect older people’s services, invest in the youth service, support action on crime, and help to develop the voluntary sector and job creation.
Liberal Democrats were crystal clear that Labour were making the wrong decisions targeting front-line services for cuts and, proposed instead, new savings in IT, management, and communications.
The position faced by Haringey was obviously made worse by Labour’s home-made financial crisis in their financial management of Haringey. A £10 million overspend during the course of the current year, £20 million of cost increases forecast for next year, the failure to deal with waste sooner, the ongoing impact from the £37 million frozen in Icelandic Banks all add up to put Haringey in a worse situation to deal with the funding reductions.
Cllr Robert Gorrie, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader and Resources Spokesperson, comments:
“Haringey Labour’s home-made financial crisis compounds the mess made by their Labour colleagues nationally when they were in government
“We believe that there is an alternative to Labour’s decision to close older people’s day centres, cut youth services by 75%, and cut funding for action on crime and job creation.
“More savings can be made on the £16.5 million spent on IT, the £20 million spent on senior management, the £1.5 million spent on communications, and the £3 million spent on policy and performance. Yet Labour have instead made the choice to shut day centres and cut youth services by 75%.”
To read the Liberal Democrats’ alternative budget proposals please click here.