Childhood Suffers in RCT Budget Cuts By Seren
Rhondda Cynon Taff council have announced budget plans that could allow them to save up to £70m over the next four years. These proposals will be affecting almost all aspects of the lives of the residents of RC.T. Arguably, those most affected by the cuts are children and young adults who, will not only have their education and leisure time disrupted but in affect, their childhoods ruined.
The cuts are robbing the communities of many leisure centres, libraries and youth centres. It has been argued that these services are giving children something to do other than walking the streets and also encouraged children to be active and lead a healthy lifestyle and so taking them away could lead to a rise in obesity and a higher amount of teenagers on the streets.
Another hugely criticised attribute to the budget cuts is the raising of the compulsory school age; pupils will now attend school from the age of four years, rather than the age of three. The first years of a child's education are often seen as the most important as that is when they learn the basics of life, morally and physically. They learn skills that, although basic, make a huge contribution to the rest of their lives. Schools do have the opportunity to provide extra hours for nursery children, however whether they will have either the funding or the motivation is unlikely.
The council has stated that;
"It's hard for us to put these out for proposals, it's very uncomfortable, it's very unpleasant but unfortunately [is] absolutely necessary in the current financial climate," says Council Deputy Leader, Paul Cannon. "My message to them is bear with us, take a look at what's happening around the rest of Wales, the rest of the UK - it's not just Rhondda Cynon Taff".
well as this delay to school attendance, it has also been decided to close
numerous libraries (14 of the current 26), day care and youth centres as well
as changes to meals-on-wheels schemes. Proposals
would also involve closing the highly popular Cynon Valley museum and Muni Arts
Centre in Pontypridd which provide youths
both entertainment and teaches them about the culture of the area they live in.
The leisure services Bronwydd Pool, Llantwit Fardre Leisure Centre and also Hawthorn swimming pool are also being closed down and this could hugely affect the fitness of the whole community. However, there are plans for services such as leisure centres and libraries could potentially be taken over by volunteers and the local communities. There are valuable residents of R.C.T who are raising money to make these possibilities a reality. Protests are also being organised to try and prevent these cuts from being made. This shows the amazing resilience of the community when faced by devastating cuts.