Last week, Bicester residents overwhelmingly warned councillors against voting for draconian cuts to services for elderly in their area.
In just a couple of hours, over 350 pledges were made that any councillors who agree to cuts and closures to Childrens and Adult Day Centres will be judged at the ballot box and lose the signatories votes.
This week, Banbury & Bicester CLP was out in force in Oxford, joining Saturday’s demonstration and march against cuts to County Council services. The protest was joined by David Cameron’s Auntie Clare! (Pictured here)
The speakers, from members of the public to campaigners on specific issues (Childrens Centres, Rural Buses, Adult Day Centres) – emphasised the joined up nature of services being cut and the domino effect they have, cuts to one service imposing more costs on another.
Focus was quite rightly targeted on the likely closure of almost all the 44 Childrens Centres. But speakers also pointed out the widespread impact of OCC’s cuts on services all age groups rely on, especially those affecting the elderly.
Hugh Jaeger, Director of Bus Users and campaigning to keep local buses quoted one lady, a widow, who told him “Last year I lost my husband and I don’t drive. If my local bus service goes, I’ll have no way of getting out of the village, I’ll be isolated” Hugh pointed out that the cuts to 118 local services, (many affecting Banbury, Bicester and the Villages), will also lead to the loss of at least 100 driving jobs!
NHS staff – a GP, Junior Doctor and Nurse – all pointed out the scale of the attack on the NHS and other public services and the impact cuts to one service has on many others in the County. Cuts to Adult Day Centres and the transport service which people use to access them will hit the most vulnerable and their carers. We know loneliness is a scourge for the elderly and vulnerable people, these proposals, together with the cuts to scheduled local bus services (such as they are) will have a catastrophic effect for people in Bicester and the rest of North Oxfordshire and can only increase isolation and loneliness for our most vulnerable adults.
The County Council is due to make its budget decisions on Tuesday 16th Feb and the pledges for both Childrens Centres and Adult Day Centres will be given to Councillors before the County Council debates the budget.
Whatever happens on the 16th, the protesters vowed to continue the campaign to reverse the cuts.