‘Don’t blame us’ – Hartlepool councillors say their hands are tied over cuts to voluntary sector

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

COUNCILLORS have expressed regret over the funding blow but said their hands are tied with savage cuts from central government.

Labour councillor Carl Richardson said: “The cuts are bad this year, but they are going to be even worse next year.”

Labour councillor Kevin Cranney added: “We are where we are and I can’t see any other way round it than the solution that has been put forward.”

Meanwhile, Labour councillor Allan Barclay said: “It is not the council that is making these cuts, it is the Government.”

Labour’s Chris Simmons said family poverty was the biggest issue facing the town and said they would be “failing in their duty” if the most vulnerable were not helped.

But independent councillor Paul Thompson said: “There won’t be a voluntary sector in future at this rate. The level of cuts is disproportionate.”

Putting Hartlepool First councillor Geoff Lilley added: “We all recognise the need to make cuts, but it is about a fair allocation of cuts and the 100 per cent cut is not fair.”

Linda Parker, of the Hartlepool Bereavement Service, said at the meeting: “I feel this is a short-sighted view and further costs will be incurred in future because there won’t be that help from the voluntary and community sector.”

Ken Fox, from ADDvance, which supports young people with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and their families, said: “If we are going to make the cuts, make them proportionate. It is difficult enough as it is to get funding.”

Mr Fox said he feared for the future of ADDvance and said “the people around the table” will be responsible for those people having nowhere to go.

Six councillors voted in favour of the officer recommendations and three voted against.