Cuts pile pressure on local services

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Figures compiled by the House of Commons Library show that the Government has slashed funding for Sure Start Children’s Centres and other early intervention programmes in Rotherham by £7.7 million in real terms since May 2010.

These figures spark fresh concerns that the already over-stretched services for children and families will suffer further from April as the next wave of cuts hits Rotherham.

The average cut across all local authorities in England is 41 per cent.

However these cuts have not been applied fairly, as Rotherham’s cut of 46.4 per cent is more severe than those received in areas like Wandsworth, whose budget fell by 35.2 per cent.

Parents in the Rother Valley will rightly be worried about what will happen to the services they value, and in many cases rely on.

Children and parents in Rotherham are being made to pay the price for this Government’s economic failure.

The Government has launched a consultation on the Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) Phase Two, which aims to provide assistance for those property and land owners who are most acutely affected by the HS2 high speed rail network initial proposals.

They have also written to local authorities and sent copies of the documentation to local libraries and Citizens Advice Bureaux.

The public consultation closes on Monday 29th April 2013.

The EHS consultation information has been published online at www.hs2.org.uk and if any residents have questions about the proposals they can phone 0207 944 4908 or e-mail HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk for help.

Last week the Government voted through its latest cuts to police budgets.

According to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 15,000 police officers will be gone by the time of the next election.

However the real cuts are running ahead of its predictions, as we have already lost 178 officers in South Yorkshire.

The Government have been consistently warned that they have gone too far, too fast in cutting the police budget by 20 per cent.

Such a deep cut has impacted on frontline policing– there were almost 7,000 fewer frontline police officers just two years into this Government.

There are fewer frontline officers, including officers in 999 response, traffic and neighbourhood teams; and the police are less visible and available under this Government.

These huge cuts to policing are making it harder for the police to catch criminals and deliver justice.

Some 30,000 fewer crimes were solved under this Government in the last year, including 7,000 crimes of violence against the person.

A more proportionate plan of 12 per cent cuts over a Parliament was shown by HMIC to be deliverable without impacting on the frontline. The cuts in police numbers we are seeing are down to the Government’s choices.

They should urgently rethink the scale of police cuts and set out a proper plan for police reform instead.

This week’s fall in the headline rate of unemployment is welcome but it is now clearer than ever that British workers are paying the price to get a job or keep a job.

Living standards continue to be squeezed and research by the House of Commons Library shows that people have now taken an average £1,200 pay cut since May 2010 because jobs are now so hard to come by.

Youth unemployment has risen yet again, back towards the million mark.

The number of women out of work has gone up and long-term unemployment is still far too high.

What Britain now needs from next month’s Budget is an industrial strength back to work programme to match the crisis we face.

That’s why I would like to see the Government introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee to get anyone out of work for more than two years straight into a job.