THE borough’s Labour group has urged councillors to oppose devastating cuts which have been approved by Hampshire County Council.

At a meeting of the full council at Hampshire County Council’s offices in Winchester last Thursday, councillors heard they must find another £98million of savings in 2017/18 and a further £130m by 2020.

To meet the gap in the county’s finances council chiefs put forward £109m of saving cuts by 2019, which were approved at last Thursday’s meeting.

The cuts will see 454 jobs axed, with £52m slashed from the adult social care budget alone and residential care set to be slashed.

Highways budgets, libraries and the Trading Standards team could all be in line for cuts but full details are set to be announced before the council sets its annual budget in February.

And Labour councillors at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council urged the local authority to oppose the cuts and for officers to investigate the full impact on borough residents.

Although the motion sought to highlight the proposed reduction of children’s centres across the county from 54 to 15, Labour councillors also highlighted other proposed cuts.

Councillor Jack Cousens, Labour councillor for Brookvale and Kings Furlong, said: “These cuts are wide ranging, and all encompassing.

“Dogmatic and crippling”

“The proposals made, forced upon them by a Conservative Government, attack everybody.

Be you young or old, rich or poor, male or female, urban or rural, vulnerable or not you will be hit by these outrageous and despicable cuts.”

He added: “These cuts are dogmatic and are crippling for our residents and the services they receive.

“The voice of our residents is loud and clear – they are calling for us to stand up for them, we must listen and we must act.”

But Cabinet member for partnerships, Cllr Cathy Osselton, refused to support the motion, calling it “premature”.

She told the meeting: “Hampshire County Council’s MTFS (Medium Term Financial Statement) has been approved in council today which outlines £98m worth of savings.

“However, this amount and the whole MTFS is subject to change during and after consultation and could be subject to further amendments depending on the Government settlements.”

She added: “I would therefore suggest that as HCC do not know what will ultimately happen, that this motion is premature and should be rejected.”

Cllr Osselton said that once the borough council knew all the facts, she would speak with the chairman of the community, environment and partnerships committee to arrange a discussion at a future meeting on the council’s findings.