Sunday, 15 March 2015

Letter to press re cuts to West Berkshire Council Children's Services budgets

 Dear Editor,

The Conservative leader of West Berkshire Council has said that he was "delighted" with their budget.

This presumably means that he is delighted that:
  • the cuts to the budget for short respite breaks "may increase the likelihood of family breakdown"
  • cuts to speech, language, physio and occupational therapies to children with Special Educational Needs may lead to "to provision falling short of statutory requirements and being open to challenge"
  • several of the cuts will cause services to "focus exclusively on children at the bottom of the edge of care, at risk of exploitation or those who go missing".
  • cutting the budget of the Youth Offending Team "could lead to an increase in the number of young people receiving a custodial sentence,with potential associated non-avoidable costs to us [the Council] ". This team used to have one of the best records in the country.
  • cuts to Educational Welfare "will mean less support for more vulnerable pupils and their families, with a negative impact on schools and standards".
  • ceasing to commission the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service "may lead to a reduction in effective support to highly vulnerable young people"
  • the reduction in training budgets "runs contrary to our [the council's] plans to invest in our workforce to improve the quality of social work with children and their families"
  • the reduction in capacity in school place planning and transport will negatively affect "a high pressure area".
All the quotes above are directly from the Tory Administration's own budget papers.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council 

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