Hove Library move halted by Greens

PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  

Hove Library move halted by Greens

Labour delays decision on Hove Library move

April 26th 2016

 

The Labour Council’s plans to move Hove Library have been put on hold this week, in response to an amendment drawn up by Green Councillors, which was due to be tabled ahead of a meeting of the Policy and Resources committee on Thursday .

 

The amendment was proposed by Greens. Greens had to work with the Conservative Group of Councillors to call on the Labour council to commit to suspend the Hove Library move. As the Green Group said only last week: “It’s a sad state of affairs when we must save libraries from Labour.” (1)

 

Read more: The proposal also included re-evaluating a range of options for maintaining library service in the much loved Hove library Carnegie building.

 

In the amendment, Councillors said the current business case for moving Hove library to Hove Museum has a number of “flaws and inconsistencies”, and said a number of creative alternatives for managing the Hove library building have yet to be explored.

 

After learning of the amendment, the Labour council sought to regain the initiative, by announcing their decision to withdraw their proposal from Thursday’s meeting to allow further time for officers to brief opposition councillors, citing “last-minute discussions with opposition groups”.  Greens say these never took place.

Green councillors and committee members Phelim Mac Cafferty and Ollie Sykes said:

“Although we welcome this stay of execution for Hove Library in response to our amendment, the fate of the much-loved Carnegie building is still far from secure.  Labour have backed off for now but remain determined to flog a vital piece of Hove’s cultural heritage at a later date.

We are disappointed that Labour refuses to have an open debate on the issue, which seeks to respond to the concerns both Greens and Conservatives raised in their amendment to the proposals.  Instead they are evading the tough questions because they realise their plans don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Labour are on the back foot, but we need to keep up the pressure if we are to save the library.  It’s time for Labour to realise their plans just don’t have support from the majority of Hove residents”.

Notes: (1)

http://brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/phelim-mac-cafferty-hove-library-treasured-cultural-asset-us/#ixzz46wzX0mDn

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Greens plea: Don’t force our vulnerable residents from their homes

Learning disability accommodation deemed not cost-effective amid Council cuts

April 18th, 2015

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Greens are urging the Labour Council to think again on proposals to outsource learning disability accommodation and care services, which could see some of the most vulnerable residents forced out of homes they have lived in for decades.

Currently, despite most learning disability care homes being provided by other providers, the Council still provides accommodation and care for 51 people with learning disabilities in-house.  Families have said these are residents with some of the highest needs in the city, with many requiring two staff to support them round the clock.

The Council is proposing to contract external organisations to provide care and accommodation in a more “cost-effective” way.  During consultation, families were presented with the option for residents to stay in their existing homes with care provided by an external provider, which were broadly favoured by families.  Yet the council has acknowledged that some smaller homes may not be considered financially viable by these organisations and residents may be forced to move after a change in provider [Health & Wellbeing Board Papers].

Consultation responses have indicated that many residents are likely to experience significant deterioration in well-being and behaviour as routines and staff change with a change in provider, which would be exacerbated where they are also forced to move.

Green councillors have called on Labour to carry out an urgent review of the plans to more fully consider the likely physical, emotional and financial impact of the changes on residents.

Green councillor and convenor of the Green Group, Phelim Mac Cafferty, said:

“We are being told by families, carers and service users that people are desperately worried about the changes being proposed to these vital services.  We are talking about some of the city’s most vulnerable residents and it is absolutely essential we get the right services in the right place.

“There is still significant uncertainty about what will happen if outsourcing is to take place, and we believe the council needs to go further in establishing what future care provision will look like before taking any decision to contract out care and accommodation services.  It is essential that the safety and well-being of residents, not the need for cuts, is central to this process.  Cutting corners at this point could risk lives and damage residents quality of life, and cost the Council far more in the long-run.

“We have received a very clear message throughout this consultation that forcing residents to move against their will could damage their health and well-being.  We are calling on Labour to guarantee that residents will not be forced from their homes under a new care provider.  If they cannot make this guarantee, it is essential that we maintain services in-house unless a better option can be found”.

Greens say day centre closure is not a done deal

 

 

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Tower House Day Centre

Brighton & Hove City Council – Green Group of Councillors

PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  

April 15th, 2016

Green Councillors have expressed their anger over a report to be presented at next week’s Health & Wellbeing Board which recommends councillors close the Tower House Day centre and make “alternative arrangements” for its disabled users.

Greens say the Labour-led Council has failed to fully explore alternative options for keeping the centre open, despite just such an investigation being agreed by all parties in November.

Council officers have claimed there is a lack of demand for the Tower House service and that the service is under capacity.  Yet the Council report also acknowledges that since November 2015, social services have pursued a policy of not making any new referrals, stating that: “Because people have been offered alternative individual services in line with the Care Act, there have been no new referrals to Tower House during this period”.

Greens say the report presents the day centre closure as a fait accompli, but insist that there is still time for opposition councillors to reject the proposals.

Green Councillor and Convenor of the Green Group, Phelim Mac Cafferty said:

“At the November meeting of the Policy and Resources committee, Council officers were instructed to consult on ways to keep the day centre open for its existing users.  This simply hasn’t been done adequately and I’m furious that we are being asked to close a beloved service without any alternatives having been considered.

“I recognise the current funding pressures on Adult Social Care, but abolishing services which act as a lifeline to lonely, isolated people is not the way to do it.  We know that loneliness can be more damaging than smoking 15 cigarettes a day and has a massive financial impact on local authority and NHS services [1].  We have both a moral and financial duty to tackle it.

“We recognise other services are available but these are often under-funded and over-subscribed and won’t be able to offer a place for all our service users.  Personalised services, on the other hand, threaten to replace community engagement with one-to-one support which will break up friendships and support networks.

“Day centres may be considered a “traditional” model of care but they are highly valued by users, and the need for participation in one’s community is timeless.  Replacing this with support at home is not progress, it’s a backwards step which will break up disabled people from their friends.

“We are calling on the Labour Council to suspend the closure to Tower House and start referring service users to the centre once again.  With a bit of creativity we can make this service sustainable and keep a community together.  It’s worth it for the savings it will deliver further down the line”.

[1] LGA.  Combating Loneliness guide

 

Solidarity with Lambeth’s campaign to save their Carnegie library

The Carnegie library in Lambeth is the subject of a sit-in protest by campaigners calling for the library to be kept open in its current form.

Following the Council approval of the libraries plan in Brighton and Hove last week, which is set to see the Hove library Carnegie building close, I have written to the protesters in Lambeth to express the Green group of councillors’ support for their action:

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Dear Occupiers

On behalf of the Green Group of Councillors in Brighton and Hove, can I wish you congratulations on the magnificent stand you are taking to defend the Carnegie Library in Herne Hill.

Your inspirational occupation is happening at an historic time for libraries many of which are under threat. Here in Hove we are fighting to keep our own Carnegie Library. Like you, we have been told by the Labour leadership of our Council that our library is unaffordable and ‘not fit for purpose’.

Yet me all know that both your and our libraries are flourishing and at a time of Conservative-invented ‘austerity’ are needed more than ever before for a more equal society.

The fight continues for all of our treasured public libraries, bestowed to communities in Lambeth and in Hove as in many other communities through the philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie.

Best of luck with it all!

Yours fraternally

Phélim Mac Cafferty

Green Party Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide

Convenor of the Green Group of Councillors, Brighton and Hove City Council