Cuts to Children's Centres

Wycombe Labour today deplored the decision by Bucks County Council to cut funding to Children’s Centres in Bucks.  

BCC decided last month to cut the funding for 28 of its 35 Children’s Centres by 10% i.e. about £400,000.  The contract for the Centres has been awarded to providers new to Bucks.   
 
BCC’s Labour Councillor, Robin Stuchbury said “Children’s Centres are vital in providing support to families at a very early stage.   They provide facilities for early learning which is critical in helping disadvantaged children. They also provide help in safeguarding children.   
 
Tory- controlled BCC know that Children’s Centres are vital, particularly in Bucks where disadvantaged children do so badly in the educational system and where BCC fails to provide an adequate Children’s Service to safeguard vulnerable children.    
 
Tory-controlled BCC say it is committed to providing early education and family support services through Children’s Centres but it shows its commitment by cutting the budget by £400,000.    
 
We haven’t even had the opportunity to debate this decision.  The decision was made by Cllr Zahir Mohammed, the Cabinet member for Education and Skills; Council was merely informed.   All Councillors were told in explanation was that this was a “planned budget reduction”.
 
 BCC has managed to find £3million from reserves to fill potholes.   It cuts £400,000 from support to children.  Now we know BCC simply puts roads before children.  It is deplorable. ”
 
Sebert Graham, Labour’s district Councillor for Oakridge and Castlefield, said “We have a Children’s Centre in Castlefield which helps some of the most deprived children in Bucks.   
 
 We now find out that BCC has cut the budget by 10%.   No discussion, no consultation, no explanation.   Just a decision by one BCC Councillor to cut.  
 
 BCC say that “the service across the county will be maintained in a very similar way to what is offered now”.   
 
How can it say that when the new provider for the Centres has yet to carry out a needs assessment and when BCC admit that opening hours may be cut and services cut or provided by volunteers.  
 
The truth of the matter is that you have to ignore what BCC says and look at what it does.   A 10% cut is a 10% cut – and this is going to lead to a 10% cut in support to our children.
 
It is disgraceful that BCC has cut the budget to the Children’s Centres.  “

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