In the wake of the countywide protests against the planned closure of children’s centres, John Christie, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group on Oxfordshire County Council, announced that the Council accepted a Labour motion last week to ask the Government to provide more money for Oxfordshire in the December settlement.
In a letter to the Banbury Guardian, John Christie, refutes the smear made by Conservative District Councillor Tony Ilott, following the Banbury anti-closure demonstration.
“Conservative District Councillor Tony Ilott finds it galling that Labour County Councillors are defending Children’s Centres and accuses us of jumping on a bandwagon.
The last Labour Government built the wagon and it is the present Government which is pulling the wheels off. Children’s Centres are among the most successful and popular achievements of Labour in office. Labour County Councillors were elected in May on an election manifesto to protect Children’s Centres, which provide vital services to families.
The reason the Centres are under threat of closure is due to the Conservative-led Coalition Government’s spectacular failure to keep to its 2010 plan to reduce the deficit created by the global financial crisis and its announcement of yet more local government cuts – £60m for Oxfordshire over the next four years. The overall cuts of 42% for local government are higher than any other sector and are unjustifiable and unacceptable when the Government cuts taxes for the wealthy and allows the financial sector to make excess profits.
The County Council is in the process of examining all areas of expenditure over the next two months and Labour will keep to its election manifesto and seek to protect Children’s Centres when the budget is set next February.”