Cuts Watch #346: More news on cuts in Children’s Services
Following on from my post on Monday, further details have become available on cuts in children’s services. Nursery World yesterday reported on the proposals by Westminster City Council to cut more than £5.4m from children’s services, including almost £1.7m from early intervention provision. The plans suggest the cuts could be made by ‘improving the targeting’ of early intervention, and that £675,000 could be saved over two years by reducing the provision of specialist services for children with special educational needs.
The proposals come after the council made immediate cuts of £1.5m to children’s services last year, which early years experts warned would ‘destroy’ the best early years provision in the area. June O’Sullivan, chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), which has 14 settings in Westminster, said:
‘I’m very concerned. Some of the children that we are taking for early intervention come from appalling backgrounds. Cutting this funding is a false economy, for children and families, and for society as a whole, and it will put a huge burden on schools.
Back in December the Evening Standard reported that Westminster City council had set out a £50 million cuts package which will see some of the most vulnerable residents hit hardest over the next two years – so many other areas as well as children’s services will be hit, including cuts of £14.5 million from care for the elderly and disabled. Services such as meals on wheels and daycare for the disabled face 50 per cent cuts. Other cuts will hit street cleaning, road lighting, community wardens, and libraries. More than £30million of the cuts will be in April as they are “front-loaded”, with the rest will coming in 2011/12. The Labour group leader Paul Dimoldenberg said:
These front-line service cuts will hit every corner of Westminster. Those being asked to carry the heaviest burden are the elderly, vulnerable, young people and children.
The budget for Westminster City Council will be set in March