Moves to cut children's services budget

MOVES to slash the budget for children's services in Suffolk were today described as “potentially very damaging”.Suffolk County Council's children and young peoples' scrutiny committee met last week to discuss the proposals.

MOVES to slash the budget for children's services in Suffolk were today described as “potentially very damaging”.

Suffolk County Council's children and young peoples' scrutiny committee met last week to discuss the proposals.

The plans include cutting £525,000 from front line services to vulnerable children, £443,000 from staff supporting services to young people and £288,000 from children's services budgets as a result of various “budget freezes”.

The authority says that all areas of local government have had to manage budgets tightly as a result of the Governments funding settlements over the last three years.

Patricia O'Brien, portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said: “Savings are being made in order to be able to live within the budget set by the Government.

“The overall funding settlement for Suffolk County Council is not enough to cover inflation, demand and demographic pressure and new statutory requirements.

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“There are no plans to close services. We will be looking at how we continue to provide key services and to make the most of existing investments such as children's centres.”

Tony Lewis, Labour lead councillor for children and young peoples' services, said: “I think it is potentially very damaging because we spent years investing and spending money to put into preventative services and intervening early and to go back to situation where we do not do that, then potentially things could get worse and worse.

“This is the third year that the Conservatives have cut children's services across Suffolk.

“Cutting money from services, getting rid of staff and increasing admin work on those that remain is simply storing up trouble for the future. This is the latest in a chain of 'Cut Now, Pay Later' Conservative budgets.”

The budget proposals will be put to Suffolk County Council's cabinet in January and to the full council in February.

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