No hiding from the 'saving lives or buildings?' debate
IT was as inevitable as night following day that another emotive budget issue would be hard on the heels of the opening of Derby's Council House after its £32 million revamp.
So it has proved. The child sex-abuse unit, in Leopold Street, is teetering on the edge, with the city council pondering withdrawing £100,000 from the service – half its annual funding.
The unit helps more than 100 victims annually. It is a life-saver, according to at least one woman, who says she was deterred from suicide by the help she received after suffering sexual and violent abuse.
No definite decisions have been reached, though those running the unit and the people they help are understandably fearful.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Fran Fuller, a University of Derby course leader and chairwoman of The British Association of Social Workers, sums up what will be the view of many: "It is inconceivable that the city can be preparing to spend millions on a velodrome and a refurbished Council House at the expense of services that transform and literally save children's lives."
Talk by another critic of such a decision being "a crime" is unfair on our councillors. They are faced with challenging decisions from which heartbreak seems unavoidable.
But having gone for prestigious projects like the velodrome, they must expect to be put on the spot every time they wield the scalpel or the axe elsewhere.
Council leader Paul Bayliss bravely maintains: "Whatever happens in the budget, we will always deliver this service but we are looking at delivering it in better and new ways."
Similar things have been said at all local authorities when unpalatable cuts are made, particularly in the fields of social services.
They do not often sound particularly convincing – and Mr Bayliss and his colleagues can expect a hostile and emotional reception when this issue is discussed by the council tonight.