Teenagers protest as council set budget

TEENAGERS from Nailsea, Clevedon and Portishead campaigned outside Weston Town Hall as the council confirmed its budget for the next financial year.

About 60 youngsters who currently use threatened youth clubs campaigned loudly outside as, inside, councillors spent more than three hours at a full meeting of the authority discussing millions of pounds worth of cuts to public services.

Teenager Charlie Lane from Portishead Youth Club said slashing �800,000 from youth services was a punishment for a generation which was not at fault.

Councillor Mike Bell, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on North Somerset Council, said the accepted budget would see youth services across the district cut by 71 per cent.

He, along with councillors Tom Leimdorfer and Richard Tucker, all proposed amendments to the budget cuts which were rejected following a vote by the full council.

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Cllr Leimdorfer’s proposal to increase the youth service budget was turned down after 15 councillors voted for, 39 against and one abstained.

Cllr Bell called for an increase to the development and environment budget and Cllr Tucker proposed more money to be made available for social services. Both were also rejected.

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Cllr Bell said: “We all recognise that these are very difficult times for government, local and national.

“However, the council did have choices on what to cut, how to cut it and how quickly to implement changes.

“They have ignored more than 4,000 young people from Portishead and Nailsea Youth Clubs and others who petitioned for the youth service to be saved. They have ignored pleas from residents in Clevedon to protect bus services. They have ignored all ideas from opposition groups, including concerns from Portishead Town Council about street light switch-offs.

“The fact is this we have a Conservative administration which is unwilling to listen to any viewpoint that is not its own.”

A council spokesman said: “We have to make huge savings of more than �47million by 2015, meaning we will only have �2 to spend for every �3 we spent last year. Every area of what we do will be affected.”

* Let us know your views on the council budget by commenting below.

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