Campaigners intending to use Local Democracy Week to challenge City Council

Posted on October 5, 2010 by

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Local campaigners are intending on using Southampton City Council’s Local Democracy Week, part of a Europe wide democracy initiative, to challenge the Council over their future plans, from environmental measures to impending cuts.

Hotbed of democracy?

The week will include a “Get involved” evening, on Tuesday 12th October from 5-8pm in Central Library, where there’ll be the opportunity to:

Come along and find out how you can get involved with the Council and have your say about the services provided by the Council and its partners. Council staff will be joined by local councillors, Police, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, National Health Service and Southampton Voluntary Services to provide information about services and listen to your views. Come along and tell us what you think and find out how to get more involved in local decisions. There will be stalls, displays, competitions and quizzes so why not drop in and find out more.

Campaigners, as well as taking this opportunity to directly quiz councillors and other staff, are also planning to attend the debate as part of that evening between 6 and 7pm in the Lecture Theatre, where “local councillors, academics, young people from Southampton Youth Parliament and residents of all ages able to take part in an open debate on the changes that are likely to be occurring in local and national government in the next few years.”  Topics are likely to include how the Council will deal with nationally dictated cuts and the implementation of the Tories proposed “Big Society” programme.

Already members of Transition Southampton are planning to attend in order to promote insulation programmes, thermostats in council housing, cycle paths, more allotments and more in order to make Southampton a more environmentally sustainable city.  Other groups may also be using this opportunity to challenge controversial policies such as the Library cutbacks, the local NHS closing Bitterne Walk-in Centre and other threats to public services.  Residents concerned about other Council policies and actions are also likely to use the event to grill their representatives.

Other events include a Youth Parliament question time on Thursday 14th October and a theatre production to be held at the Bargate from the 13th to the 15th – see the website for more details.

The Blowhole would like to encourage people to use this opportunity in order to challenge their representatives on their policies in an age of public service cutbacks and the new government direction, and engage in democracy beyond the ballot box.

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Posted in: Comment, News, Southampton