getwestlondon has been gauging the reaction from those who will be directly hit by the cuts proposed by Harrow Council last week.
The Labour administration is preparing its draft budget which will be published in December, detailing how taxpayer money will be spent in the next 12 months from February 2015.
The authority claim it needs to make £75million of savings during the course of its administration.
- Kathy Westhead , membership secretary for University of the Third Age, a theatre group for the elderly which runs many of its classes at the Harrow Arts Centre, said: “It would be such a shame to so many parts of the community to lose the arts centre. We use it, schools use it, dance and theatre groups use it. There really is nothing like it in the borough so to close it would be a terrible decision.”
- Secretary of the Friends of Harrow Museum, Marion Bridger , which is currently on the verge of hearing if it has secured more than £3million of lottery funding for a restoration project, said: “For us it would be terrible timing. We are close to possibly getting a grant which could fund a project to make the museum sustainable and profitable. If it were to close now, it would be awful timing as so much work has gone into it. The history we have needs to be protected. Yes, money needs to be spent elsewhere too, but what we have in the museum is unique.”
- Gary Walker , a volunteer for Harrow Community Radio’s morning show, said: “Libraries, the Harrow Arts Centre and volunteer organisations such as Harrow Community Radio are ways for people of Harrow to have a sense of community and feel good about their borough. They help channel the energy of the young and give purpose to the older members of the community in positive ways that reduce the drain on the borough in other areas. It is disappointing to see that the Labour-led council is looking to make cuts to the areas that make Harrow such a great place to live.”
Opposition leader Councillor Susan Hall also lashed out at the proposals, launched the day after Labour announced it will be reintroducing a £160,000-a-year chief executive role at the council.
She said: “How can Labour justify closing libraries, cutting street cleaning or stopping care for the vulnerable while restoring the highest-paid job at the Council and paying them £25,000 more than the Prime Minister?”
For more information, visit www.harrow.gov.uk/takepart to learn how you can have your say.