Debate on public spending cuts

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PEOPLE are invited to attend a special debate on the public spending cuts to be held at Scarborough Library on Saturday.

The debate - entitled: “This house proposes that public spending cuts are justified and needed” - will take place between the Friends of Scarborough Library and the Scarborough Forty Club from 11.15am.

Mark Vesey, president of the Forty Club, will be chairman of the debate.

Proposing the motion will be Ray Clarke and Colin Wigglesworth, and opposing will be, Maria Billington and Colin Challen, before the debate is opened up for public questions and comments, ending with a public vote.

Scarborough Council is looking to save more than £6 million over the next four years.

The authority must save £2.1 million on its 2011/12 budget and around £1.3 million of savings each year thereafter in response to Chancellor George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review last October.

Mr Osborne said the cuts were necessary to pull the country back “from the brink of bankruptcy”.

A questionnaire was sent out to 6,000 households in the area to see which public services residents felt should be cut as part of the council’s cost-cutting drive.

More than 92 per cent of residents urged the council to cut the mayoral and civic budget and more than 75 per cent wanted cuts in grants to the area committees.

North Yorkshire County Council is aiming to find savings of £69 million over the next four years and has announced measures to reduce spending including cutting the number of managers and non-frontline staff and changing the way in which highways repairs are done.

Police spending is also being reduced by 16 per cent.

The Forty Club, which has the motto: “We do not all think alike, but we all alike agree to think,” is celebrating its 112th year. Its club records go back more than a century, providing a record of the 1,700 interesting talks that members have conducted.

The group meets on Thursday evenings from October to March at the Friend’s Meeting House, Woodlands Drive, at 7.30pm.

The event follows a well-attended debate held last year on the future of the Futurist. Residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of saving the venue after a special debate held to discuss the future of the seafront theatre.

The debate, entitled: “This house proposes there is no future for the Futurist”, pitted Patricia David, of the Futurist alternative task group, against Mencap volunteer Mr Clarke.

Just six people out of around 50 in attendance agreed with Mr Clarke that there was no future for the theatre after both speakers were given 10 minutes to put forward their arguments.