Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A depressing cabinet meeting -- budget and grants

Cabinet met yesterday and by all accounts despite the politeness of its members it was a pretty depressing meeting -- unfortunately I couldn't make it as I was supporting parents at the Maiden Erlegh consultation meeting.

First there were the cuts to the grants of many voluntary and community sector organisations -- Reading Council for Racial Equality, Indian Community Association the list goes on.

Next were the budget savings proposals. As has been reported in the local press Reading has suffered from a large -- almost 10% -- cut in the grants it gets from central government -- the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition. This means that if everything else remains the same the Council needs to make £19 million of cuts to balance its budget. The report to Cabinet goes into quite a lot of detail about what this means, but the headlines are 300 jobs to go and a massive reduction in public services on which many people depend.

These cuts are going to have a devastating impact on many people's lives. The council needs to push back on central government. But instead they appear to be rolling over.

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