Politicians betray Ballymac Playzone

The Ballymacarrett Playzone Centre is an after-schools service in East Belfast that provides children with programmes including picking them up from school, helping them with homework, healthy eating and PE.  

The centre is a vital service in enabling parents to work. It currently provides affordable childcare at a rate of £1.50 per child per day. T he Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister has only offered a three-month emergency package after the Department of Health cut funding to the project. At a packed public meeting held in September to save the centre, it was the view of the local community that the cuts need to be stopped.

A committee was established at the meeting to develop a plan and build the campaign. But this committee has been dominated by politicians from the parties in power in Stormont who voted through cuts which have led to funding being withdrawn from the centre.

Instead of coming up with a strategy to build a campaign against the cuts in funding, the politicians have concentrated on putting together a “self-sustainability plan” which would mean introducing a 300% hikes in charges for parents who use the service from £1.50 a day to £5 a day / £100 a month.

UUP MLA “Sir” Reg Empey is one of the politicians arguing for this approach and is using the issue to have an opportunistic go off the other Assembly parties, even though it was his colleague Health Minister Michael McGimpsey who withdrew the funding! In a statement he pushed this idea stating “It is ludicrous that Playzone are not being given the same opportunity as the other clubs to put together a business model that will see them move towards self-sustainability.”

The Socialist Party is completely opposed to this approach; this is not fighting the cut in funding but just finding another way of introducing the cut. The Assembly parties on the committee are in reality asking working people to accept the withdrawal in funding from the Assembly Executive and fund the centre out of their own pockets. It is simply making working class families pay more due to their cuts.

Ballymacarrett is one of the most deprived communities in Western Europe. People simply cannot afford to spend £100 a month on childcare. The local community has been hit hard recently with the closure of Beechfield Primary school and Ballymacarrett Library nearby. It is also anti-democratic of the Assembly parties to sidetrack the campaign, ensuring there is no effective campaign through mobilising the local community to fight the cuts. The campaign to save the Ballymac Playzone Centre must be democratically controlled and run by the local community and the workers who face losing their jobs. In the run-up to elections next May, all the parties in the Executive should be put under intense pressure to guarantee permanent funding for this essential service.

 

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

Open letter to Conor Murphy on job losses at Translink

Next Article

Government of millionaires attack benefits

Related Posts

BNP are no alternative for working people

In response to the announcement that the BNP are to contest the upcoming elections in Northern Ireland, Socialist Party representatives have stated that the far-right group has nothing to offer working-class people.

Paddy Meehan – the Socialist Party’s South Belfast candidate and a key organiser of protests against attacks on Roma families in the area in 2009 – said:-

“The BNP attempt to scapegoat immigrants for the lack of jobs, homes and access to services- the blame for which should be laid squarely at the feet of the main parties in Stormont and Westminster. Where the BNP grow, so do attacks on ethnic minorities. The thugs who attacked Roma families in South Belfast in 2009 chanted BNP slogans.”

‘Kazakhstan 2012’ opposition leader jailed

“Physical annihilation” threats against activists – Urgent protest action needed!

The Nazarbayev regime in Kazakhstan is stepping up its terror campaign against opposition activists, despite the fact that Kazakhstan continues to head the OSCE organisation.

Vendetta against Tommy Sheridan results in “guilty” verdict

Statement from Socialist Party Scotland

“I have fought the power of News International all my political life and I make no apologies for taking on the might of Rupert Murdoch. Several million pounds of public money has been spent investigating myself and my wife. Isn’t it about time that similar resources were devoted to investigate the activities of the News of the World.” Tommy Sheridan