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Councillors from Hillingdon are set to vote on Thursday night (February 23) on the future of children's centres in the borough as part of their budget for 2017/18.
The controversial plans include closing two centres - in Hayes and Northwood - and changes to staffing to reduce expenditure by £415,000.
Hillingdon Council is planning to close centres at Uxbridge College in Coldharbour Lane, Hayes and at Hillside Primary School in Northwood Way, Northwood from April 2017.
Councillors will discuss the next year's budget at the council offices in Uxbridge from 7.30pm.
The news of the planned closures has caused an uproar among parents who use the facilities, which run a range of services including respite childcare, counselling and breast-feeding courses.
Parents and councillors opposing changes to children's centres in Hillingdon held a demonstration on Monday (February 20) to voice their outrage.
Around 60 protesters wielded placards and chanted outside the doors of the Hillingdon Council offices in Uxbridge from 10am.
We will be bringing you live updates from the meeting from 7.30pm.
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After two hours and 15 minutes...
The meeting is over after around two hours and 15 minutes of debate.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the original budget which includes cuts to children’s centres and also investments including a new visitor centre at the Battle of Britain bunker in Uxbridge.
We’re going to close down the blog now so we hope you’ve enjoyed and appreciated our pretty hectic coverage.
Check back with us tomorrow for a full store and more detailed breakdown of the budget.
So the cuts to children's centres will go ahead
The proposed cuts to children’s centres for 2017/18 will be going ahead after the council unanimously voted in favour of the budget.
And the Conservative budget passes...
The council has voted in favour of the original budget as set out by the Conservative administration.
Vote was unanimous.
Councillors voting on the budget
The vote is now under way
Cllr Puddifoot adds: “What we have achieved and continue to achieve in Hillingdon in the current economic climate is remarkable.
“We do not underestimate the financial challenges we, as a council, still have deal with.
“This is a first class budget for a first class borough.”
'We have frozen tax while maintaining services'
Leader of the council, Ray Puddifoot, said: “We have frozen tax while maintaining frontline services while many have not.”
“[We are] improving services at the same time building up financial reserves to deal with the challengers that lie ahead of us.”
Young people using children's centres
Labour Cllr Egington addressed the low numbers of young people using children’s centres.
He said: “This is due to the number of sessions being much fewer and many being a mixture of age groups.”
Cllr Egington added that there was no presence on the Internet to advertise sessions for younger people.
Heritage & Environment Champion
Cllr Markham, the Heritage & Environment Champion, said: “This budget shows continuing investment in sports facilities.
“This budget shows continuing investment in adult education services.
“There will be problems in the future.”
Cllr Richard Mills - sports champion
Cllr Richard Mills, Sports Champion at the council, praised the ward budget initiative which he said has allowed him to fund clubs, including buying equipment for an archery club in his Brunel ward.
'Sound financial management'
Cllr Burrows said: “Because of sound financial management I’m able to assists petitioners in their desires for the council to do something for them.”
Cllr Keith Burrows is speaking about the council’s record on planning.
He pointed out the five figure sums received from recent planning related court cases.
Here’s one example of a recent case:
CCTV cameras outside schools
Cllr Barnes from the Conservative is speaking about the CCTV systems set up outside schools to improve road safety.
The project was launched last year across the borough.
Social Services, Housing, Health & Wellbeing
Cllr Corthorne is now speaking about his responsibility, Social Services, Housing, Health & Wellbeing.
He points out Hillingdon schemes around health, including the Park Life programme to promote residents getting active.
'Children's centres we need'
Cllr Simmonds concludes: “I think we should make no apology for ensuring that we have the kind of children’s centres we need and that are sustainable.”
Education is now in the spotlight
Cllr Simmonds, Cabinet Member for Education & Children’s Services , is now speaking on education in the council chamber.
He said: “We continue in this budget to invest in ensuring that every Hillingdon child has a good school place.”
Amendment is rejected
The Labour amendment is rejected by Hillingdon Council, 42 votes against to 20.
Cllr Bianco says the amendment is a win
Cllr Bianco has pointed out that the Labour amendment accounts for just 0.15% of the Conservative budget.
He said: “I assume they support 99.85% of our budget. This must be regarded as a win for us.”
'28% of most vulnerable being reached'
Cllr Simmonds has defended the changes, saying: “The purpose of these centres is to support the most vulnerable.
“28% of users are from communities most in need in our borough.”
Cabinet Member for Education & Children's Services
Now Cllr Simmonds, Cabinet Member for Education & Children’s Services, responds to the amendment: “What I’m seeing is a group that has a lot to say, but nothing to offer.”
Cllr Duncan says children's centres are just most recent cuts
Labour Cllr Janet Duncan said: “Now we see proposed cuts falling on children’s centres under the guise of more efficient working.
“The common thread is that all these cuts are affecting the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Labour cllr demands an apology
Labour cllr John Oswell has demanded an apology from Cllr Douglas Mills for calling the Labour group a joke.
He said: “I’m not a joke, nor is this Labour group.
“I think we should get an apology from Cllr Mills.”
No apology as yet, but we will keep you updated.
Cllrs response to Conservative 'Awh'
@ambhack We winced because it's such an over-the-top accusation. The consultation is about shuting 2 of our 17 children centres.— Cllr Nick Denys (@CllrNickDenys) February 23, 2017
Cllr Nick Denys has responded the some councillors’ ‘awh’ after Cllr Sweeting quoted a member of the public saying lives could be at stake.
A brief aside...
Here is a picture from Twitter of the earlier adjournment after a member of the public stormed into the council chamber.
'Most vulnerable will suffer'
Cllr Sweeting concludes: “Its the youngest and most vulnerable who will suffer if these cuts proceed.”
Applause from Labour councillors and the public gallery.
'Lives could be at stake here'
Cllr Sweeting quotes a resident who supports the Cherry Lane Children’s Centre: “Lives could be at stake.”
To a chorus of ‘Awh’ from the Conservative group.
Cllr Sweeting on children's centre cuts
Cllr Sweeting said: “The Labour group concur with the views of Hillingdon residents who are not convinced by the rhetoric that you can cut half the service budget and that things will continue as before, or even better.”
'This amendment is a joke'
Cllr Mills said: “This amendment is a joke. This Labour group is joke.”
Dates wrong on the amendment
Cllr Mills has pointed out that the Labour group have the wrong year in their amendment, and suggested they put forward an amendment to the amendment.
Three proposals for the amendment
Cllr Dhillon has set out three proposed amendments from Labour.
These are creating two new job roles to tackle anti-social behaviour in the borough, particularly in the south, abolishing the children’s burial charge for families in the borough, and removing children’s centre cuts.