Saturday 2 July 2011

Cathor Park Parents Cause H&F Council's High Court Capitulation

Yesterday morning in the High Court, H&F Council grudgingly capitulated. It agreed to re-instate some of the services it has already cut from the Cathnor Park Children's Centre after a local parent instigated a judicial review (JR) of the decision. Mr. Justice Collins indicated that they had an arguable case and told the Conservative run local authority that its actions maybe unlawful. H&F Council then promptly produced a new proposal and the JR was withdrawn. You can read a full report here on the Shepherds Bush Blog.

This is a clear win for the parents that relied on that service and provides encouragement for others across Hammersmith and Fulham. At last February's budget meeting H&F Conservatives cut £3.4 million pounds from the budget of the Borough's sixteen Sure Start children's centers. Then in April at the Cabinet Meeting they agreed the details of where the axe would fall. The point to bear in mind is, at that meeting, H&F's director of children's services admitted that this cut would will mean that around 85% of the households that had relied on the service would not receive it anymore. The Conservatives were unapologetic when my Labour colleagues and I raised this again at last Full Council Meeting on Wednesday night. Somewhat controversially, the Leader of the Council said he didn't believe middle class people should benefit from these children's service and said his administration's budget cut means it will now go only to those deemed to be most in need.

Last February, at a meeting of Cathnor Park Children's Center's parents, grandparents and carers it was heart breaking to hear of the horrible effects that cut in service would have on the children that benefitted from that service. So it absolutely fantastic that they have had this win. Now we have to see if similar blows for fairness can be struck across the Borough.

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