Campaigners call on Hackney Council to ‘come clean’ over cuts

Campaigners called on town hall chiefs to ‘come clean’ this week over the impact Hackney’s �47million cuts package will have on public services and jobs.

The demands came after Labour councillors voted through a controversial annual budget, which will see �9.4million go from finances and resources funding, �3.4m slashed from children and young people and �4.3million cut from community services.

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe has pledged to protect frontline services and find savings in the back offices. But the total number of people who will lose their jobs is still unannounced.

“People do not know what’s happening,” said Conservative councillor for Springfield Ward, Simche Steinberger.

“To be honest if we had made the budget ourselves, we would have given a proper breakdown item by item.”

Brian Debus, president of Hackney Trades Union Council (TUC), said: “What they are doing is a playing a crafty game. They are trying to make out that the cuts aren’t really there.

“There is a degree of anger among our members on one hand and a degree of confusion. We want the council to come clean and say what their intentions are.”

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He said he expected four hundred people to lose Hackney public sector jobs by the end of the year. Two hundred council workers have so far accepted voluntary redundancy.

Hackney Green Party activist Anna Hughes said: “It is still not clear how the cuts in Hackney’s budget will affect services and how many jobs will be lost. But you can’t cut �44million from a budget and expect it to have no effect.”

This was the original cuts figure announced.

A council spokesman said: “The council strongly refutes any suggestion that it has not been open and transparent about the 2011/12 budget. The budget report is publicly available and, as in previous years, detailed discussions on the proposals and their impact have taken place in various public council meetings over the past six months at which considerable detail has been presented.”

“Throughout the entire budget setting process, we have been unequivocal about our commitment to protect vital frontline services for people in Hackney and the 2011/2012 budget is evidence of how we are doing that.”