I’d rather be a Picket than a Councillor

Posted: March 2, 2012 by rabidleftwinger in Children and Young People, Cutswatch, Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!, Labour Party

Lambeth council met to consider it’s budget on Wednesday. Lambeth Council’s budget proposed £24 million worth of cuts, including £6 million worth of cuts to youth services. And about 130 people were outside the town hall to suggest that cuts to youth services are the last thing Lambeth needs.

Looking round the demonstrators I was amazed at their diversity. So many people are affected by the cuts. There was a teaching assistant who said “I’ve seen the effect of the cuts on the young people I work with, but this is nothing like what is going to happen. Already they have closed down youth services and the ethnic minority achievement team. This year the budget for dealing with people with special educational needs will be halved”. There was the person with a disabled child who said “Many parents of disabled children are worried the services they rely on will be cut, leaving them without the help they need”. And there were the amazing One O’Clock club workers who have done so well resisting council plans to cooperatise (read privatise) their service.

And Ted Knight was present. He ran Lambeth council from from 1978 to 1986 when the council actually stood up to Tory cuts. “I don’t think Labour councillors should accept Tory orders” he said, “They should be required as elected representatives to set a budget that reflects the needs of the people who voted for them. They should be joining with trade unions and the community to hold the government to account”. Precisely, why isn’t Steve Reed doing this?

Roger Lewis, from Disabled People Against the Cuts, addressed the demonstration. He said “Disabled people are facing cuts which amount to 10% of the entire deficit. Shamefully the Labour council in Lambeth is putting disabled people in the front line of implementing these cuts. They have cut services such as the Effra Road day centre and are considering cutting freedom passess for people with mental health difficulties and much more. These cuts mean disabled people will find themselves driven into poverty. I really don’t want this to happen”

Members of the public were allowed inside the meeting providing they were respectful to councillors, quiet and behaved themselves. Very few people on the demonstration felt like being quiet and behaving themselves, so we just sent a delegation in. “We told the council the cuts they are implementing are part of a Tory assault on the welfare state” said Sara Tomlinson who was on the delegation. “We talked about a map which proved the councils that have had most central government funding cuts are those in deprived, Labour voting, inner city areas. We also showed the cuts fall on the most vulnerable within Lambeth. The hardest hit are ethnic minorities, single parents and the disabled”

But despite all that the council still passed the cuts budget.

Of course, passing the budget doesn’t mean they can successfully implement it. Last year the council had big plans to fire all librarians and failed spectacularly thanks to Lambeth UNISON and Lambeth SOS. This year when they come for the youth clubs and One O’Clock clubs we hope the council will fail just as badly. Come to the next planning meeting on Thursday 15th March, 6:30pm at the Vida Walsh centre to help us plan how.

  1. Edward says:

    Where was Councillor Kingsley Abrams? Having played a part in the demos in the past I hope he didnt vote for the cuts

  2. DJ says:

    I believe Cllr Abrams had to be out of the country for personal reasons but would have voted against the cuts.

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