Three London councils to cut services amid protest
- 23 February 2011
- From the section London
Councils across London have decided how to slash tens of millions of pounds from their budgets amid angry scenes.
Lambeth Council, south London, finalised cuts to save £79m over three years despite protesters storming the chamber.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council, west London, rubber stamped £65m savings over the same period. It claims management will bear the brunt.
Camden Council in north London voted through cuts of £100m over three years.
'Shame on you'
Proceedings at Lambeth Town Hall were interrupted when more than 100 protesters stormed into the meeting room.
They repeatedly shouted "shame on you" before locking themselves into the chamber amid a police presence.
Councillors moved to another room and the meeting went on behind closed doors.
The Labour-run council approved plans to cut 24 lollipop patrols at school crossings.
Three quarters of public toilets will be closed.
Maintenance of streets, parks and cemeteries will be scaled back, along with pothole repairs.
The council says its plans will save £37m a year while protecting day care centres, bin collections and 22 PCSOs.
Council leader Steve Reed hit out at the protesters, saying: "You can't have people just storming through town hall."
Conservative Hammersmith and Fulham Council agreed to freeze council tax for another year.
Councillors approved cutting 700 jobs over three years, with 330 to go in the coming financial year.
The council says 175 of the jobs are senior managers, and they hope the rest will come from mid-level management.
'Straining every penny'
About £250,000 will be cut from the communications budget.
Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said they were "straining every penny and every pound to protect front-line services".
The council will save £3.2m from what it calls a "reorganisation" of family and children's centres.
The plan would see some centres get extra funding while others lose out.
Some £310,000 will be cut from library funds.
A council spokesman said Big Society-inspired residents' groups would step in to maintain the two libraries due to be hit.
Some 150 people protested peacefully outside Camden Town Hall.
As executive members at the Labour-run authority discussed a range of cutbacks to children's services to save £3.2m.
The closure of Acol and Caversham's children's centres has been proposed.
It has been suggested the weekly number of free nursery hours should be reduced from 25 to 15.
And there would be a reduction in grants given to nurseries and drop-in centres, amid claims this would force some to close.
The measures are to go to a full vote at Camden Town Hall on Monday.
Local authorities face an average 9.9% cut in government formula grant funding in 2011/12.