Merton Continues Support For Little Leagues

Plans to make cuts are withdrawn

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The popular Little League football scheme will continue to get support from Merton council, after plans to make cutbacks were withdrawn.

The borough council had supported the charitable scheme for more than 40 years by providing parks and pavilion access.

But proposals to end the backing were included as part of the £44m worth of cuts the council plans to make in 2012-13.

A petition calling on the council to continue its support for each of the five leagues in the borough received more than 250 signatures.

But council leader Stephen Alambritis has now pledged that the council has no intention of charging the Little Leagues in Merton.

Councillor Alambritis (left), who is also a qualified football referee, has even offered to referee in each of their leagues.

In a letter to Dennis Jones, Little League secretary in Merton, he said: "I can confirm that we have no intention of charging the Little Leagues in Merton. We are proud of being one of the few boroughs in the country that offers free pitches to Little Leagues and we will continue to support you and want you to go from strength to strength.

"As you are aware, due to a reduction in Government funding, Merton has been forced to make £44m worth of cuts over three years. In order to reduce direct cuts to services, officers have been exploring ways of increasing our income in every department in the council.

"However the officer option to charge the Little Leagues in Merton has been firmly rejected by the administration. As long as I am Leader of the Council we will not be charging Little Leagues."

February 17, 2012