A PETITION protesting against proposed cuts to youth services was signed by 70 people in two hours on Saturday.

Wiltshire Council agreed last week to scale back its plan to cut funding for these services from £500,000 to £250,000.

But it is not yet known how south Wiltshire will be affected by the remaining cuts as a 10-week consultation process continues.

The aim of the petition, organised by Salisbury Labour Party, was to send a message to county hall that if there have to be cuts the people of south Wiltshire want to be treated fairly.

The John McNeil Opportunity Centre, which provides for children with special needs, is facing a £10,000 cut; 24 youth centres across the county are threatened; and the Bridging Project, which gives disabled young people a chance to socialise with other teenagers, is also facing an uncertain future.

The battle to save Hillcote, Salisbury's only respite home for severely disabled children, has already been lost despite a campaign by parents to save it.

The council's budget is being squeezed by an ongoing reduction in central government funding and increased demand, but leader Jane Scott says it will continue to do whatever it can to lessen the impact on vital frontline services and protect the most vulnerable.

Many people on Saturday stopped to talk about the cuts, take leaflets and sign the petition, which also called on Scope to think again about closing the residential area of the Douglas Arter Centre - home to nine severely disabled people aged 30 to 70.

Salisbury Labour Party parliamentary candidate and city councillor Tom Corbin, said: “We are very happy to support the Journal's campaign to Save Our Services.

“We are encouraged by the strong support shown for the campaign. There is a large cross section of the community who came to sign the petition and find out more about the proposed cuts that are being made to our services.

“This was a really successful day - there are a great many people who want to voice their opposition to these government-led cuts.”