Portsmouth Tory budget proposals ‘an attack on the poor’, warn campaigners

Anti-cuts campaigner Jon Woods believes the council's proposed budget is 'an attack on the poor'
Anti-cuts campaigner Jon Woods believes the council's proposed budget is 'an attack on the poor'
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CRITICS have condemned Portsmouth City Council’s £9m savings plan as an ‘attack on the poor’.

It comes as the city’s Tory administration today unveils its full list of proposed savings to be made in next year’s budget.

It also includes a big focus on bringing extra income into the council, citing the deal to re-negotiate the terms of the lease on Wightlink’s ferry base in Old Portsmouth.

An added £300,000 a year is to be brought in through rent generated on commercial property the council has bought outside of Hampshire.

But councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader, said: ‘All of the group leaders have had a briefing from the police. The big issue the police have is the rise in violent crime, and particularly problems associated with drugs in the city. They’re really worried about hard drugs.

‘Therefore, if we are cutting the amount of money available to get people off drugs, that seems to me like it doesn’t fit in at all with the police’s priority to tackle the dangers in our communities caused by people on hard drugs.’

Anti-cuts campaigner and Portsmouth Unison branch chairman, Jon Woods, said: ‘This is an attack on the poor.

‘After years and years of cuts, we are seeing a devastation of the welfare state.’

On the proposed trade union cuts, he said: ‘What the council is failing to focus on, is getting rid of secondments, releasing trade union representatives from their day jobs in order to represent members, will result in more costs. Stewards doing their existing jobs would have to take time out of their normal work to help with industrial matters.’