Council under attack over closing down job centre

THE Lib-Dems denied claims that the blame for the closure of a centre helping unemployed residents find work lies with them. The Times reported last week that the decision of the Lib Dem led Brent Council to close the Brent In2 Work centre in south Kilbu

THE Lib-Dems denied claims that the blame for the closure of a centre helping unemployed residents find work lies with them.

The Times reported last week that the decision of the Lib Dem led Brent Council to close the Brent In2 Work centre in south Kilburn drew criticism from Labour politicians who said the council were letting down jobseekers while unemployment soars.

Brent Lib-Dems responded angrily, explaining cuts in Labour government funding, which they protested at and warned of consequences including the termination of Brent In2 Work services, led to the centre's closure.

Council leader, Cllr Paul Lorber said: "We fought bitterly to stop the Labour Government slashing our funding, without warning, a year ago.


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"This came at the worst time for Brent. I appealed to the Labour Minister to meet me and discuss it at the time. He refused. Instead they reduced Brent's allocation of funding.

"The Government took away �4 million and it is utterly hypocritical of Glenda Jackson MP and her Labour colleagues to pose for a picture outside the building wearing their rosettes, claiming that in some way it's the council's fault when the Labour government took away �4m from job creation and support from Brent."

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Labour Cllr Mary Arnold, Kilburn ward, insisted that it was the council's failure to ensure that funding from the government was invested in Kilburn that had led to the closure of the centre.

She said: "This is typical Brent

Lib-Dems, not taking responsibility and blaming the government.

"Cllr Paul Lorber says nothing about the Tory/Lib Dem council's failure to make fair transition plans with the funding they did receive.

"South Kilburn New Deal for Communities funding was invested in the borough-wide Brent in2 Work and yet a year after the Working Neighbourhoods fund was reduced, the community, and apparently the South Kilburn Partnership, were shocked by news of the impending service cut!

"This is not good enough. It's no good blaming the MPs for the council putting too many eggs in one basket."

A spokesman from the Brent Labour group said: "We're not going to let this one go. Weasel words from Lib-Dems can't hide their failure to provide help for those who need it most when we're, hopefully, pulling out of recession.

"The Brent In2 Work is a microcosm of the whole. If they cared a jot about it, then they'd have found some flexibilities within other budgets, for example the south Kilburn Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, which they've already diverted to all sorts of other projects of less direct relevance to folk in south Kilburn to keep it going.

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