Following the Isle of Wight council Cabinet’s decision last night (Thursday) to reject a plea to reconsider procurement tendering plans for services currently provided by the Isle of Wight Law Centre, the Island Labour member, who set up a petition opposing the plans has responded.
Brannon: “Disappointed but not surprised”
Colleen Brannon, who presented the petition at the last full council meeting, told OnTheWight,
“We’re very disappointed, but sadly not surprised, that the cabinet have decided to continue with the procurement process as originally planned, despite thousands of Isle of Wight residents and many councillors opposing the decision.
“It’s another example of our Tory-led council wishing to appear to be listening to residents, but continuing with their own agenda regardless.”
Process “excludes Law Centre from meaningful bid”
Colleen went on to say,
“The problem is not the procurement process per se, but the fact that at present it is structured in such a way as to exclude the Law Centre from making a meaningful bid.
“The council know this, so to suggest we are opposing the procurement of services is misleading.”
“It’s disingenuous for the cabinet to say that services will not be lost; as they know the Law Centre offers more than the advice, information and guidance services sought in the tender.
“The Law Centre doesn’t just advise and signpost people; it advocates on their behalf; the service it provides is unique, invaluable and more necessary than ever following cuts to other services.
“If it loses its core funding, the likelihood is the Law Centre will close. That will be a very sad day for Island residents who have relied on its expert services for 15 years.”
Support for Universal Credit rollout
Explaining the help the Law Centre can provide for those affected by the roll-out of Universal Credit, Colleen said,
“Across the country, the roll out of Universal Credit has seen homelessness and reliance on foodbank rise considerably. Here on the Island, we are at the beginning of the roll-out process. The Law Centre prevents evictions and repossessions, saving the council over £1.5 million a year.
“With legal aid cut, and the Law Centre gone, where will Islanders in need of specialist legal advice and help go in future?”
Thanks for support
Colleen finished by adding,
“We would like to thank all Island residents who took the time to help stand up for local services.”
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