Videos: Campaigners protest at Portsmouth City Council budget cuts meeting

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ANTI-CUTS campaigners staged a noisy protest inside Portsmouth Guildhall against plans to slash £11m from the city council’s budget next year.

Protestors gathered at Guildhall Square with placards highlighting the crippling impact more cuts will have on vulnerable people in the city.

It came ahead of a full council debate this afternoon from 2pm where councillors will decide whether to give the budget savings the green light.

A provisional agreement will be made whether to increase council taxes by up to four per cent. A final decision on that matter will be made in February.

Under the £11m cost-cutting plan, community centres could see grants for activities and repairs reined in and a unit that supports victims of hate crime could be abolished.

Fewer people would receive support for substance and alcohol misuse and some sexual health activities could be scaled back and axed as part of £2.6m of proposed savings in the health and social care service.

Other departments facing the squeeze include resources – staff responsible for HR, legal and IT duties – which could see a £3.5m reduction.

Almost a quarter of the traffic budget – £800,000 – could be tackled by cutting subsidies to bus companies and negotiating a better price for routes they operate.

The council has already to take out up to £6m separately from the budget due to spiralling costs in its children and education and adult social care departments.

Campaigners against domestic violence campaigners stood on Guildhall steps with banner saying ‘cutting dv services kills women’

Labour activist Sue Castillon: ‘There are threats and cuts to the Sure Start centres, vital early intervention work with 0 to five year-olds. For parents, it gives a good start to children before they start school. The other thing under threat is the hate crime unit, and the only paid officer that is going around the schools to do that intervention work. In the current climate where young people have been enticed by the likes of Isil, that is a crucial service as well.’