How we treat children is a reflection of what we consider to be important

After the Tories had passed their guillotining motion to end last Thursday’s council meeting, all remaining business was put to the vote. I was delighted that the motion Cllr Rachel Fryer and I proposed was passed in that process. However, that we were not able to debate it was a source of regret to me.

Here’s what I would have said…

Full Council 21st October 2010

Speech seconding Notice of Motion on Cuts hitting Children & Young People

Mr Mayor I stand to second this motion as a father, as a son and as someone who believes that family is about community and not just blood ties.

Greens don’t believe there is an economic case for sudden, deep government cuts at this time. However if there must be cuts, they certainly should NOT hurt the most vulnerable and those least able to make the case for the services on which they depend.

It’s a truism to say that children and young people are our future. I believe that how we treat children – who are inherently innocent and trusting – is a reflection of ourselves and of what we believe to be important.

Good health, education and fulfilling work are important. Yet the cuts this motion notes say the opposite. The cuts say bank bailouts, subsidies for nuclear power and cold war era arms like Trident are more important. They are not.

– freezing child benefit for three years;

– cutting the Health in Pregnancy Grant;

– cutting the Sure Start Maternity Grant for all but the first child;

– cuts in Housing Benefit – which will affect families with children the most;

– a cut in Tax Credit entitlements for the poorest by withdrawing the Baby Element;

– the cut in the Child Trust Fund.

These and other cuts say children aren’t important. But that’s not what we believe – children are our future and our inspiration.

Let us show this city what we believe in. By supporting this motion you vote for hope in a better future for our children.

[ENDS]

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