“Saving” Children’s Services: The Letter that Leicester City Labour Council Wanted to Send, But Never Did

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Dear Voters of Leicester

First of all, as your Labour City Council, we wish to thank you for continuing to vote for us through thick and thin. Electing 52 Labour councillors into a possible 54 positions is not bad at all.

We on your Mayoral team are, of course, sure that we can continue to count upon your vote in the future, and count on us to continue to unwillingly carry through Tory cuts. Cuts are necessary and it would be amiss of us to try to build a fight-back against the government, no matter how hated and weak they are.

That said, you can certainly rely upon the leaders of your proudly Labour Mayoral team (especially Sir Peters Soulsby and Rory Palmer) to continue to lead the attacks against the leader of our own party (Jeremy Corbyn). You see, historically speaking, we have always believed that austerity and cuts were necessary. Our motto at present is therefore cut Corbyn and make Tory cuts!

As we have said before, there is nothing we as a Labour Council can do to oppose Tory austerity. Therefore, we would like to give a big thank you to you the people of Leicester for allowing us to cut £100 million from your city’s budget so far, and for giving us the task of cutting another £55 million over the next few years.

In the interest of goodwill, we are now embarking on a consultation with you on our latest round of cuts. Believe you me, we would much prefer that people participate in our consultation than engage in public protests. The latter might be something that Corbyn and his socialist friends who dominate the Labour Party’s grassroots might encourage, but rest assured that is not our style. We want consultation not confrontation, and we hope that you will agree with us on that.

Cllr Sarah Russell, Assistant City Mayor for children’s services has “worked with officers for several months” to look at where the current cuts must be made, and we have come up with what we like to call “the least-worst” option.

To cut £4 million from the Council’s “early help services” is not easy and so we are suggesting some big changes, the biggest of which involves regretfully terminating the equivalent of 127 full-time posts — a drop from 299 to 172 full-time carers for our city’s children.

Remember our Tory government are adamant that they will no longer fund basic public services (anywhere), so what else can we be expected to do except make cuts? Surely you wouldn’t have us stand up for the people of Leicester by helping organise a fight-back against a deeply unpopular government that only received 24% of the popular vote?

Another idea we have for cutting your services is by closing down the majority of the city’s children’s centres. It will be much cheaper to run 12 instead of the 23 we presently operate.

And that is not all, we also aim to cut the budgets for Leicester’s adventure playgrounds in half. A cut here, and a cut there all soon add up to savings for us all!

Rest assured, as we acknowledged in our consultation document, we considered every option before deciding to consult on cutting your children’s budget by £4 million. As we pointed out, the only two other options were to either cut £3 million (option A) or £5 million (option C); so you can see we have truly considered every possible alternative.

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We hope that you will agree with us that there really is no alternative to Tory austerity, and agree with us that by picking the middle option your Labour councillors are doing you proud. Cutting nothing from the city’s budget was of course never a viable option as we as a Council are firm in our belief that nothing can be done to oppose funding cuts.

If you now choose to complete our consultation, and we hope you do, then be warned that a recurring question that we will be asking you is: how will our proposed cuts to vital services provided for children living in your part of the city affect you or your family?

In an ideal world you will tick one of the following answers (1) “Not applicable,” (2) “It won’t affect me / us,” or (3) “I have no opinion.” We are however hopeful that some of you will help us (the decision-makers) sleep better at night by letting us know that our commitment to making necessary cuts/savings to the budgets of local services will help you and those around you by ticking: “It will affect me /us in a positive way.”

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Please, however, be reminded that we would prefer that you refrain from doom-mongering by ticking the answer that planned cuts “will affect me / us in a negative way.” If you feel this way we would prefer that you not waste both our / your time by participating in the consultation process.

Cuts have to be made, and if you are a principled socialist who believes that Labour should be taking the fight to the Tories, then your views are not being sought via this consultation. Join the Labour Party by all means and campaign to support Jeremy Corbyn, but be assured that we will not be joining you in your futile democratic endeavours.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to help us help you, and we hope to get in contact with you about future cuts in the near future

Yours (in)sincerely

Your UnCorbyn Labour Council

P.S. There is still time to take part in our other consultation about how we are planning to make the poorest people in Leicester pay more council tax (see “Punish-the-Poor? Leicester City ‘Consults’ on Planned Changes to Council Tax Scheme”).

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