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Services will still be cut despite 'generous' Government grant
Users of under-threat services reacted angrily to news the authority would push ahead with controversial cuts despite the Government giving it a “generous” grant settlement.
Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced this week Richmond Council would suffer a 0.6 per cent cut in its “spending power”, compared with more than 8 per cent for some inner London boroughs.
The news raised hopes in Richmond that some of the proposed cuts may no longer be necessary, but the authority said they would still go ahead.
Its plans include saving £100,000 by closing Twickenham and Tangley Hall day centres, slashing £351,000 from its library budget and cutting £64,000 of grants to the voluntary sector.
Alex Brining, operations manager at charity Richmond Aid, said: “I would like to see the local proposals reconsidered in light of this announcement.”
Justin Wright, chief officer of Mencap Richmond, said: “They should look at the spending again. The council has already got a surplus of about £52m. There is no information about how they will use that surplus.”
Reg Pearce, whose mother uses Hampton’s Tangley Hall – a specialist day care centre for people aged over 60 with dementia – said he hoped the announcement would mean the valued facility will not have to close.
He said: “They should pick on something else to save money now. It’s crazy.”
Phillip Turcsi, a regular user of the threatened Heathfield library, in Percy Road, Twickenham, said he was hopeful the council would be able to afford to relocate it to Heathfield Junior School, in Cobbett Road.
He said: “The library can be saved, the relocation should go ahead – the money is there.”