I am alarmed that Southwark Council's funding from Government will be cut by £29 million this year. I am saying that the Government spending cuts are too far too fast. They are wrong. The Government needs to think again.
In response Southwark Council is consulting on ways they can save money, including having to cut funding for local day centres. I know what an excellent service they provide and what it means to elderly people to be able to have a hot meal and take part in activities. Many elderly people who live on their own find the clubs especially important so that they can spend time with their friends and those of a similar cultural background.
I was concerned that 12 weeks was not enough time to consult on such a huge decision, a decision which will affect some of the most vulnerable people who use these local services.
I am pleased that Southwark Council have listened to local elderly people and to poeple who work in these centres. This week the council voted for an additional £500,000 of funding for local Day Centres. This extra money will allow the centres more time to find alternative funding and look at re-structuring the way they work.
I will continue to press for those who work in the centres to be offered a choice in how these savings are made - not just one option.
Harriet Harman visiting the Southwark Asian Elderly Centre on 17th December 2010