Children and families face around £13 billion of spending cuts
The Government argues that cuts can be made in spending without damaging the quality of public services (as there is apparently so much waste that can be eliminated). They also stress that these cuts will be fair and progressive and maintain that the most vulnerable will be protected.
However, our analysis of spending cuts announced so far (as reported in the Sunday Mirror) shows an emerging pattern of decisions that have been especially harmful for children and young people – this group of people have been disproportionally affected by the cuts agenda.
This table (.pdf) provides an overview of the cuts to children and families that have been made by the Coalition Government to date. The analysis shows that even before a child has been born the cuts set in as a result of the abolition of the health in pregnancy grant. The impact of the cuts then continues right the way through children’s early years, school years, higher education and then their future employment opportunities.
The table (.xls) shows us the cuts announced so far that will be made each year for children and families:
TOTAL CUT PER YEAR BY 2010/11 – £2.7 billion
TOTAL CUT PER YEAR BY 2011/12 – £4.2 billion
TOTAL CUT PER YEAR BY 2012/13 – £5.9 billion
The cumulative loss that children and families will have experienced by 2012/13 – only taking into account cuts announced so far – is just over £13 billion.
The analysis also shows us that spending reductions have been about far more than about reducing waste and that cuts have impacted on front line services. Numerous local newspapers and journals have reported on the impacts of cuts on young people in their local areas, a few examples are provided below.
Westminster Council in London is facing a 1.5m cut from the DfE area based Grant. Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group in Westminster, said his authority could not afford to lose £1.5m without damaging frontline services. “The (government) said these initial cuts would be about reducing waste” he said. “But now we find they have targeted children for the most savage cuts.”
Rochdale Council is to be hit by more than £3.3m of government cuts. Children and Young people’s services will bear the brunt of the cutbacks, according to figures obtained by Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk. He added: “Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems and deputy Prime Minister, recently said that the cuts would be ‘progressive.’ I don’t see anything progressive about vulnerable people in Rochdale losing support to get to a job…..”
North Yorkshire County Council is to slash its children and young people’s budget by £14m over the next three years. Cynthia Welbourn, children and young people service corporate director, said: “Naturally, our priority is to protect frontline services as much as we possibly can. Unfortunately, however, given the size of the savings, it will not be possible to protect them completely.”
Winchcombe has seen a state of the art playground project fall victim to government cutbacks. Gloucestershire County Council said that following the Government’s decision to withdraw funding for the Playbuilder scheme, nine playground schemes in the county, costing £380,000 would no longer go ahead. Councillor Ron Harrison said, “We were quite excited about getting it going. It’s an area of the town that doesn’t have a lot of facilities for the eight to 13 year olds this was being targeted at.”
In Yorkshire, education bosses say the decision to halt almost 100 school rebuilding projects in the region will leave parts of it with a shortage of places and deprive generations of pupils of 21st century learning. The cuts include ditching plans to provide new buildings at a secondary school which was ravaged by fire last year. A spokesman for Doncaster Council said pupils at Campsmount Technology College would now continue to be educated in temporary school buildings. The council’s executive member for young people and education Councillor Ralph Berry said: “This is a devastating blow for Bradford which will leave our schools with a shortage of at least 3,000 places…”
Connexion services have been hit hard; a survey of Connexions services reveals more than one in 10 face budget cuts of up to 50 percent, with one in seven stating they are suffering reductions of £2m or more. Paul Chubb, director of Careers England says “you cannot, under any circumstances, describe cuts of this magnitude as efficiency savings. What we are seeing is the decimation of a universal public service for young people.” Steve Stewart, chief executive of Connexions Coventry and Warwickshire said “the chancellor said he was cutting £6.2bn of ‘waste…… Now we’re beginning to find out – it is in frontline services.”
Further examples and information of how these cuts are impacting on young people are included in this document.