As members of the Winchester Constituency Labour Party Executive Committee we are writing to lodge serious concerns regarding the Hampshire County Council Budget consultation. This consultation demonstrates a lack of foresight and understanding on the part of the council and attempts to shift total blame for the cuts from the council itself to Central Government - an excuse which is unlikely to provide comfort to service users.

We call on the council to revisit their proposed cuts and perform a more detailed risk assessment of the consequences and present these as part of the consultation.

We believe the proposed cuts to care services represent a further dangerous offloading of care to the voluntary sector. These services are lifelines for some of our residents.

Furthermore, proposed cuts to infrastructure budgets, such as roads and street-lighting, are reckless and dangerous. County roads are in a state of disrepair, causing damage to unsuspecting motorists and potentially leading to an increase in accidents.

Additionally, research conducted by the University of Sheffield showed that well-lit streets reduced crime by 36 per cent - reducing street-lighting will save less than 1 per cent of the deficit but could put vulnerable people in dangerous situations. Whilst most of us cannot put a figure on the consequences of violent crime, HCC have found an indirect way to do so.

We believe that many of the proposed cuts represent a lack of understanding of local people’s needs and expectations from their county council. There appears to be very little evidence of assessing the impact these policies will have on service users and represents a dereliction of duty of care. We strongly suggest that the council carries out a series of risk assessments relating to the possible outcomes of the upcoming budget. We appreciate that councils are facing deficits in their funding, however we believe that a proper formal and much more detailed assessment of the potential consequences is required, and for this information to be disseminated as part of any consultation with the public.

Peter Marsh (Chair)
Martha Slade (Secretary)
Sam Jordan (Vice-Chair)
Lucy Simms (Vice-Chair)
Peter Rees (Treasurer)
Steve Turner (Political Education Officer)
Hannah Dawson (Policy Officer)

Callum Hunter (Youth Officer)