Thursday, 30 December 2010

Labour condemns Government for cutting services for Lambeth’s Portuguese community

Steve Reed, Labour Leader of Lambeth Council, has condemned the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives for cutting funding for a Portuguese-speaking specialist teacher. The teacher helped schools improve the performance of children from Portuguese-speaking families at schools in Lambeth. The previous Labour government provided 100% of the funding for this teacher, but the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has taken the money away while, at the same time, cutting Lambeth Council’s overall budget by £90 million. The Government has also cut support for children from other minority ethnic groups in Lambeth.

Cllr Reed said: “I am extremely angry that the Government has cut this funding without thinking about the effect it will have on Lambeth’s Portuguese-speaking residents. The Liberal Democrats promised to protect funding for education before the election, but now they are in government they have broken their promises and taken the money away. At the same time, they have made it impossible for the council to replace the Government’s funding by cutting £90 million from our budget which will result in further appalling cuts in services. People need to understand that every single cut is the result of choices made by the Government that this council does not agree with.”

“Our Labour council and I will work with the Portuguese community and local schools to try and find alternative funding for this post. We want to talk to the Portuguese banks to see if they will help fund this teacher who has done such a wonderful job helping Portuguese-speaking children. I am sickened that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have taken away the money for such an important position that the previous Labour Government had funded in full.”

Stockwell Councillor Alex Bigham, who helped set up Labour Friends of Portugal said: "The decision by the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives to cut this post makes a nonsense of their claims to want to help pupils who need it most. Labour is organising an emergency meeting to discuss the impact of this cut with representatives of the Portuguese community to see if we can protect this important post. But the truth is this is just the latest example of how Lib Dem and Tory decisions affect real people - in this case hitting children's life chances."

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