Anti-cuts campaigners plan to take a festive approach to their lobby of Oxfordshire County Council cabinet meeting today. The lobby, which will take place 2pm at County Hall (New Street, Oxford), will include festive singing and building anti-cuts snowmen. Campaigners will also be bringing a giant Christmas card for council leader Keith Mitchell with their own Christmas message.
They are angry about cuts to local services, including the proposed closure of 20 libraries and 20 youth centres. The lobby has been called by Oxfordshire Anti-Cuts Alliance, a broad umbrella group which brings together a wide range of local trades unions and service user groups, and is expected to include users of libraries and youth centres faced by closure, alongside those affected by other cuts including national cuts to benefits, health and education.
Gawain Little, President of Oxford & District Trades Council and Chair of the Alliance, said, "We wanted to have a fun, family-friendly protest to raise what is a very serious issue. These cuts will affect people across Oxfordshire. Young people in particular are set to bear the brunt with cuts to education and youth services, including closing the majority of youth centres in the county.
"The wholesale closure of libraries is not only a short-sighted attack on culture and education but will also have a direct impact on local communities for whom these services often form a focal point for local activity and community cohesion"
In addition to the lobby outside, young people from youth centres under threat are expected to address the councillors inside the cabinet meeting.