Wednesday, 23 February 2011

H&F Council hold budget cuts meeting tonight

Hammersmith Town Hall will witness the dropping of the axe this evening as the cuts begin to bite. The Council's budget meeting will be open to the public but there have been concerns in the media over the last week that meetings like this one will even attract possible crowd trouble, as has already hapenned in Lewisham and Islington.

The Evening Standard last night reported that our Council is making some of the biggest cuts in London, at £14.8 million, and we've already seen a shrinking of Sure Start services for children. The same report described how some Councils have made provisions for meetings to be held away from the public due to concerns over meetings being disturbed by crowds of angry people.

I would of course offer you a film of the procedings, but I have been told before that if I get my camera out I'd be asked to leave by security and escorted from the building. So much for transparency - and this sort of thing has led to Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles urging councils to let bloggers film and report freely from Council meetings with the same accreditation as "professional" journalists - we'll see if H&F take him up on that but I wouldn't hold your breath!

It's become normal recently for big set pieces like this at the Town Hall to be prefaced by some kind of demonstration outside beforehand so there may well be one this evening, but the main action will be in the Town Hall where what will otherwise be a quiet meeting with a simple agenda will ring the changes through for this borough, and very far reaching they will be too.

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