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Councillor is 'horrified' at plans to take schools out of council control

The Executive Member for Education at Hampshire County Council says he is horrified at plans to take schools out of council control, and turn them into academies.

Councillor Edgar says he is horrified Credit: Peter Edgar

As a former teacher with 34 years experience and now Executive Member for Education at Hampshire County Council, I am horrified to think that the HCC role in education is going to be destroyed by George Osborne in his budget. We have worked with HMG to deliver the reforms and have been congratulated by Ofsted as being one of two authorities in the country who have interpreted the reforms in the right way by giving the support, intervention, and challenge to our family of schools. In Hampshire of our 534 schools we have only three designated as inadequate and have 84% good or outstanding schools. So what on earth are we doing so wrong that we need to be abolished?

We have even been congratulated by the Prime Minister for our work with the Isle of Wight neighbouring authority for our work there instigated by HMG. I am a lifelong Conservative but this statement of policy could lead to the country's education system imploding. I do not understand it, particularly as there is no evidence whatsoever that the academy conversion of schools is improving standards. Now with academy chains paying salaries to their chief executives more than the Prime Minister, the whole thing needs to be put on hold.

– Councillor Peter Edgar

Domestic abuse protestors interrupt Portsmouth budget meeting

The meeting was stopped for 10 mins as protestors let off confetti and chanted Credit: ITV Meridian

A key Portsmouth City Council meeting on budget cuts had to be temporarily stopped because of protests.

Demonstrators against proposed council cuts to domestic violence services in Portsmouth let off confetti in the chamber and chanted until they were removed.

The council has to find £11m of savings this year - and had proposed cutting funding to domestic abuse services by £130k. Today councillors announced that funding would be found to continue the service for this year at least.

A local tax rise of the maximum 3.99% for the next four years is also being proposed, as are cuts to the fire service.

Watch Sam Holder explain in a live report from outside Portsmouth Guildhall:

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Protest on steps of City Hall

Women fearing budget cuts protest on city hall steps head of crunch meeting.

The city council has already made £74.4m of savings over the last five years. But city hall bosses needs to save at least another £31m over the three financial years from April 2016.

The £31m will have to come out of the £207m of spending under the council's control. Almost half of the £207m is spent on looking after vulnerable adults and children.

Southampton councillors to try and balance budget

Southampton City Council needs to save £98m by April 2017 Credit: ITV Meridian

Councillors in Hampshire are due to consider how to balance the county council's budget later.

Its leader says it's facing its most "challenging period" - after forty eight million pounds was cut from the authority's government funding.

Campaigners protest over plans to cut £98m from Southampton's budget Credit: ITV Meridian

"We are facing the most challenging period of the prolonged national austerity measures. In Hampshire, this means having to deliver savings of £98 million by April 2017, rising to a further £140 million of savings by 2019/20."

"We have a strong reputation for careful financial planning, which has delivered £240 million of savings since 2008, but it's clear that having lost so much of our Government grant, future savings will become even harder to find.

"Our approach to date, has focused on running the County Council more efficiently by reducing the cost of back office functions; using savings to help protect front line services; and prudently using some reserves to manage the costs of change.

"We are proposing to continue applying these principles in the years ahead, as well as considering an increase in council tax for the first time in six years - an approach which was supported by the majority of people who fed back to us during our summer consultation.

"This option is being put forward because of the blow we received before Christmas when Government announced more drastic cuts to the local authority funding formula, which impact particularly badly on County Councils. This translates into a further £15 million gap in our budget by 2017/18 - and that's taking into account the amount we could receive if we put up council tax by just under 4% each year, in line with the Government's expectations. "The percentage includes 2% to help specifically fund adult social care - even though this only provides £10 million against anticipated costs of £35 million in adult social care, next year."

– County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry

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  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, July 2015

What does the Budget mean for you? And after May's defeat, can Labour recover? Lively debate with Henley MP John Howell, Lib Dem Baroness Parminter from Sussex and Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead .....

... and Parliament may need to relocate soon for the big rebuild. Where should it go .... and is a glass box really the answer? One MP tells us why it is.

Six hour stalemate over spending in Brighton and Hove

Councillors in Brighton and Hove have failed to set a budget, despite a six hour meeting last night. The ruling Greens wanted to increase council tax by almost 6% - the biggest rise in the country.

But Labour and the Tories voted against them. There'll be another meeting on Tuesday 3rd March.

ITV Meridian spoke to the Green Party's Cllr Jason Kitcat, Brighton & Hove City Council.

Brighton & Hove councillors fail to agree on budget

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council have failed to set a budget after six hours of negotiations, and will now reconvene on Tuesday 3 March.

At just after 10.30pm the council chief executive Penny Thompson said it was unlikely they were going to be unable to reach an agreement this evening.

They were trying to decide whether tax payers in the city will face the biggest increase in their bills in the country.

The Greens want a rise of almost 6%, which would equate to more than £70 a year for an average household.

They say without a big rise they will have to make drastic cuts in public services. Both Labour and the Conservatives feel this is too high.

The opposition Labour group leader Warren Morgan tonight argued for a 2% rise in council tax.

Today's debates: The Budget and UKIP's progress

In the Last Word, Meridian's Political Correspondent Phil Hornby is joined by South Thanet's Conservative MP, Laura Sandys; the Liberal Democrats' Matthew Oakeshott - Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay on the Isle of Wight; and Caroline Flint MP, Labour's Regional Champion for South East England.

They debate the budget: how will it affect working families in the south? And, after Eastleigh, do the three main parties need to take the UKIP movement more seriously than ever before?

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