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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2015

Fight now on to save disabled respite centre

Protesting against Grove House closure, photo by Tyne and Wear Socialist Party

Protesting against Grove House closure, photo by Tyne and Wear Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Norman Hall, South Tyne and Wear Socialist Party

An angry protest took place prior to the cabinet meeting of Gateshead Labour Council on 3 November at very short notice.

On the agenda was the privatisation or closure of Grove House, a respite centre for mentally and physically disabled children between eight and 18 years of age, among the most vulnerable members of society.

Around 30 people, predominantly parents of Grove House users, made their opposition clear.

There was disbelief that the Labour council could threaten a service that is a lifeline for families in Gateshead. Parents pointed out that, as care of their disabled children is so demanding, it is only during respite that they could spend quality time with their other children.

Outrage

Following the protest, in a BBC interview council leader Mick Henry said: "We have a situation where people like those at Grove House, a small number of the population, a very, very important part of the population, but are actually taking over 50% of the budget.

"Unfortunately, when you ask people they're more concerned about grass cutting and street cleaning, and understandably so."

Councillor Henry's statement has caused outrage. It is beyond belief that so many people can be insulted in so few sentences. The disabled kids who are compared to grass cutting and street cleaning, the families accused of eating up 50% of the budget and the people of Gateshead as a whole.

And how much will the closure of Grove House save? A meagre 280,000, bearing in mind 45,000 has been spent on refurb of offices for the council leader and cabinet.

The proposal is now under consultation but no option is ever available to call on the council to refuse to implement cuts and use their reserves of 77 million to protect services such as Grove House.

Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity call is in danger of being undermined by the actions and attitudes of Labour councillors such as Mick Henry.

The fight to save Grove House is now on. Sign the petition online at: www.change.org/p/councillor-henry-gateshead-council-leader-save-grove-house

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In The Socialist 11 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Bail out the NHS

Socialist policies get results!

Government departments agree to hack budgets

Tories open the door to further rises in tuition fees

Fury as India's leader Modi plans to visit Britain

Buyers queue overnight for 'affordable' London homes

School kids must walk hands behind backs says head

Them & Us

What we saw


Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2015: Socialist ideas back on the agenda


International socialist news and analysis

USA: Kshama Sawant re-elected

UK trade props up Kazakh dictatorship


Workplace news and analysis

Unions should keep independence to lead fight to defend Corbyn

CWU rep sacked

Hull council in aggressive attack on trade unions

Step up the fight for trade union rights

Huge support for socialist in Northern Ireland union election

Workers dig in for fight over job threat

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Can biomass energy be part of a socialist plan of production?

Revolutionary themes in games


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save steel jobs

Jeremy Corbyn visits Leeds Uni

Southampton council: cutters or Corbynistas?

Derby school support staff: fight against pay cuts continues

Fight now on to save disabled respite centre


 

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