Back in March, Birmingham’s Labour Councillors voted to axe 60 play areas across Birmingham – which shows how little they care about Birmingham’s children.
The Conservative alternative budget (put together under exactly the same financial constraints as the Labour budget) did not axe any play areas – instead we made our savings in areas such as Cabinet support staff, European officers, etc. etc. Ours was a balanced budget, so the excuse that there is no alternative to axing play areas (and introducing a green waste charge) won’t wash. (Especially as Labour have underspent anyway). There IS the money to keep popular front line services, IF you are prepared to cut something else, or to use the money which they haven’t actually bothered to spend.
Now the elections are over, letters are being sent out to Ward Councillors telling them which play areas in their ward face the chop. How deceitful to wait till after Polling Day – but typical of this Labour shower. In an age of consultation overload, it’s interesting that there is no consultation on this subject. Labour have decided to axe 60 play areas, Labour politicians have agreed which ones will go, and the local Conservative Councillors just get a letter telling them about it.
In Edgbaston, Labour have targetted the play area in one of the most deprived parts of our ward – the Benmore Estate. Most residents on the estate live in flats, either low rise, or in one of the five high rise blocks. The children on the estate need somewhere to play. The mothers need somewhere where their young children can safely let off steam (and where they can sit and meet other mothers while they watch their children play). But it seems Birmingham’s nasty Labour Councillors don’t consider such things when working out their budget priorities.
When Conservative campaigner Matt Bennett and I visited yesterday, the play area was being well used by small children with their parents. Parents we spoke to were horrified at Labour’s plans to take away the play equipment which their children enjoy so much.
Immediately I received the letter telling me of the closure (which was yesterday morning even though the letter was dated June 17th), I put in a furious objection to the plan – firing the first salvo in a campaign against this nasty attack by Labour on the young children in one of the most deprived parts of our ward.