100 protest at HMRC nursery closure

So much for 'family-friendly' HMRC

Save Our Nursery

Close to a hundred children, parents and workers protested against the closure of the First Friends nursery at HMRC Llanishen in Cardiff today, in front of a colourful display which included the well-used Cardiff Trades Council banner and many home-made placards.

Management are demanding the closure of eight nurseries at sites across Britain. HMRC's official reason is that demand for nursery places are falling. That drew gasps of disbelief from parents in Cardiff. One worker whose children have just finished at the nursery told the Socialist that there are 113 children registered at that site alone. Many suspect that Mapeley, the private company that now runs HMRC sites, wants to sell the space to a more lucrative business and charge higher rents. Other workers suspected that this was an attempt by HMRC to encourage more staff to quit or accept further redundancies. All were very angry that children were being targeted in this way. HMRC's claim to be "family-friendly" drew laughs of derision from gathered protesters.

Deb Law, a PCS member who works on site, said "My parents live two and a half hours away. I don't know what I would have done without the nursery when my kids were young. They were my support network as well as my childcare. It was so useful having a nursery so close. If any of the children were upset the staff would point to a window across the estate and say 'Mummy's only over there' and they'd settle down. It will be a terrible blow of they get away with closing it. They do a great job: my kids left knowing how to share, how to stand in line, their colours, the alphabet - they were really well-prepared for school and not nervous about going at all." PCS reps are discussing what to do next with the campaign: further protests will follow and Cardiff Against The Cuts activists have pledged to call on Councillors to pressurise HMRC to reverse their decision, at the lobby against the cuts on Thursday 27th September at 330pm at County Hall, Cardiff Bay.

Ross Saunders

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