From the Southampton Daily Echo
Andover Labour Party is appalled by Hampshire County Council’s shock decision to slash 1,200 jobs from its workforce. Not only that, they are now threatening to sack 5,000 of the lowest paid workers and re-employ them on worse pay and poorer terms and conditions. This is yet another direct attack on the worst off members of our town and society at large. Sadly it is also typical of the current Government’s thinking at all levels.
These unnecessary cuts will have a devastating effect on the services used by some of the most vulnerable in the county, as well as putting public servants on the dole. The knock-on effect to those local private companies which rely on Council contracts will also be incalculable.
On top of the hike in VAT, pay freezes, the tripling of student fees and the sharp rise in inflation, ordinary people in Andover and across the county will suffer from the inevitable cuts in services provided by the Council. Particularly hard hit will be young people and the parents of children. A disproportionate cut of about 60% is being made to Youth Service Staff bringing the number of youth worker and youth support workers to 105 for the whole county. Also many youth centres will have to close around the county leaving many young people no where to go to receive the advice they need. Outside schools, the young people of Andover already have very few facilities on offer, many of those situated in hard-to-find areas outside the town. It is also likely that support for children with special needs will become even less than that which is currently available.
The government’s attack on public services and welfare is wrong and totally unnecessary and amounts to making the victims of the recession pay for it with their jobs and services. The way the Council has implemented them is disgraceful. It is no good continually bleating on about the national deficit, caused by International bankers playing roulette with our money, which the current government inherited. These cuts are avoidable and have been chosen by politicians who have no intention of carrying out their promise that ‘we are all in this together’. Cuts have been made which affect the poorer members of society. Nothing has been done to deal with tax evaders or the bankers who created the situation in the first place. The rich are not being asked to help out by paying more taxes.
Chair, Andover Labour Party