Sunday, 16 January 2011

Anti-Cuts Meeting Press Release

The Weston and North Somerset Trades Union Council held a public meeting against the public spending cuts at the Salvation Army Hall in Weston on 12th January. A spokesperson said: “The meeting was well attended by members of the public, representatives from trade unions, representatives from the voluntary sector, and members of various political parties. Teachers, council workers, social workers, library assistants and NHS workers spoke about the impact of the cuts on the services they provide. Members of the public spoke about the impact of the cuts on the services they receive, including a parent who wants to stop her child’s school from becoming an academy, and another parent who is terrified for the future of her disabled son.”

“At the meeting we agreed to form an Anti-Cuts Alliance, and to lobby North Somerset Council’s budget discussion meeting on 18th January at the Town Hall. Members of the Weston and North Somerset Trades Union Council will also be speaking at the council meeting. Amongst other things, we will be arguing that the council has a legal duty to ensure it has assessed the impact of its budget proposals on particular groups of people, including people of different ethnic origins, women and men, young and old people, disabled people, gay people, and people of different religions. If a detrimental impact on a particular group is identified then revisions can be made in order to remove, lessen or mitigate that impact. We have seen little evidence that the council has undertaken equality impact assessments for its budget proposals, and we have also seen little evidence that it has consulted with service users. There are a number of proposals in the budget document, which should be of particular concern to councillors, and the people of North Somerset, as they will impact on the most vulnerable groups in our society. These include many of the proposals for reducing services to children and young people, to people with physical and learning disabilities, to older people, and reductions to library services. Equality impact assessments must be undertaken for these proposals, otherwise the council may find themselves open to legal challenge.”

“We urge the people of North Somerset to make their views about the cuts known to their councillors by writing to them, and attending council meetings. We will also be holding another public meeting on 17th February at 7.30 pm at the Blakehay Theatre in Weston super Mare, ahead of the council’s budget setting meeting on 22nd February which we will also be lobbying.”

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