18 June 2007

There's hope if you're out of the home

The bad news is huge Tory cuts in local voluntary sector funding. But the good news, John Fitzpatrick, chair of the Law Centres Federation, told a packed public meeting at the Irish Centre this evening, is the re-birth of civic action in Hammersmith & Fulham.

He described the Conservative council's 60% cut in funding to the Law Centre (see previous blogs) as a "spectacular act of municipal vandalism".

Guest speakers at the special meeting on voluntary sector funding, including columnist Polly Toynbee, expressed their strong support for the Law Centre.

It was left to Conservative councillor Harry Phibbs to justify why the Law Centre's grant was being cut. He tried several times in several different ways to explain why the Law Centre was being targeted but failed miserably despite repeated challenges. He even wished those solicitors facing redundancy well.

To be fair to Cllr Phibbs, at least he turned up to try and defend the actions of the council. Unlike the Cabinet members responsible, whose decision to cut the Law Centre is unashamedly politically motivated.

But Cllr Phibbs hadn't done his homework. He continued to deny that the council is cutting funding to the voluntary sector despite the evidence (see previous blogs) of 18% cuts within this financial year in grants and more cuts next year along with hikes in rents and reductions in rate relief. Several community and voluntary organisations are also being kicked out of their premises so they can be sold off.

The next protest about the Tory cuts, local MP Andrew Slaughter told the audience, will be at the council meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall on Wednesday 27 June. He added: "We mustn't give up hope. They will have to give up because they are wrong."


MING said...

What did Phibbs say?

MING said...

And pray say more explicitedly for the benefit of those who are not following the story why the Law Centre cut is politically motivated?

hfconwatch said...

Perhaps you can tell us why the council has cut the Law Centre's grant by 60%? Cllr Phibbs could not explain why the cut is being made despite being asked several times.

MING said...

Hi. Thanks for posting back.

Sorry to be rather pedantic and even verbose about the matter, but it would be good to explain yourself.

This is not a hostile move.

In general, f you don't explain yourself, or perhaps refer to local press coverage, nobody outside the meeting would have any knowledge of what went on, and hence would not have anything to support.

So, in what way is the moves politically motivated? There has been some press coverage of the cuts and closures (in the local press), but the message does not come out explicitedly as being politically motivated.

How would you convince the middle ground on this matter.

If I read you correctly, Phibbs didn't actually explain why the funding was cut -- ie, had *no* explanation. Is that right? I was not at the meeting.

I think you are on to something, but need to get your message out more clearly.

I know the message is perfectly clear to you, and to the attendees of the meeting, but not always very clear to readers of your blog.

I understand that viewed in conjunction with other cuts, the Law Centre cut can be viewed as political.

So, what "politically motivated" could you do the hard job of explaining to your audience?

Very Bestest


hfconwatch said...

No doubt the Chronicle and Gazette will carry full reports this week. Or Cllr Phibbs might say more in one of his many letters or blogs.

Ming said...

That's good then.

Not being terribly familar with this particular blogging system, how would one put the image of the newspaper coverage on this blog.

I'm thinking of the jpg image.

Let me know.

MING said...

Just for the benefit of those who can't possibly know who Harry Phibbs is, are you talking of this chap?


You will need the consultation hours to know when to meet up with him.

Are the readers of this blog interested to meet the councillers during their weekly surgery by any chance?

As you know, the Council is very open about these matters.

Let me know.

hfconwatch said...

Thanks for being so helpful.

MING said...

What does "Thanks for being so helpful" mean exactly?

Do you want it, or not, and if you (or readers) do want it, are you going to meet up to seek an explanation from Mr Phibbs?


MING said...

Dear HFconwatch blogmeister,

since you would be at the protest, could you please note, just in case your protest brief is rather small, that in as far as the libraries are concerned :

1. The proposed charge to the library People's network computers is 5 times the cost the council pays for it

2. and that this matter has been concealed.

3. and the timetable for this has been brought forward (noticed appeared today, taking most stuff by surprise again - usual theme)

4. Please enquire at either of the reference libraries (hammersmith or fulham)

5. You can safely reject any idea that consultation on the above was properly carried out. There will be evidence for this.

Please include the in your protest brief, and please desiminate.