Services for young and old slashed in Haringey
By LiseS | Monday, February 28, 2011, 11:12
Services for older people and youth centres in Haringey both came under the knife at a full council meeting on Thursday night, with day centres closed and the youth service budget cut by 75% despite protests from local campaign groups.
Lynne Featherstone MP meeting representatives of the Save Haringey Youth Centre Campaign last month.
The local authority spending cuts announced before Christmas have been called "hammer blow to the people of Haringey" by Council Leader Claire Kober, but the council has also drawn fire for targetting sections of the community most in need.
In an open letter to the council published last month, members of the Save Haringey's Youth Centres campaign wrote: "You are cutting a service that will save you money if you allow it to function properly. The £2m saving you think you have made are a false economy, the service prevents issues where the bill for cure is 8 times higher."
Youth centres provide valuable support, advice and guidance for young people. Youth unemployment nationwide hit an all-time record last week, with almost one million 16-24 year-olds reported as being out of work. The closure of local day centres for older people was also approved at the meeting, drawing similar criticisms.
Cllr Robert Gorrie, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, expressed his disappointment with the vote on Thursday, saying, “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."
Liberal Democrats on the council had hoped to make savings in IT, management, and communications rather than cutting front-line services.
Haringey's "Shaping Our Future" consultation last autumn found that residents wanted the council to spend more money on preventing crime and supporting regeneration and job creation, and the same as currently on safeguarding children and vulnerable people. The consultation also found carbon emissions was the lowest spending priority for Haringey residents, with most voting to spend less on this area.
The council is now consulting on its proposed restructure.