Services for children face deep cutbacks
CHILDREN’S centres in Warwick could be facing a 15 per cent cut in their budgets under the terms of the county council tax budget agreed on Tuesday.
The local authority funded Warwick Nursery Centre in Coventry Road and the Action for Children “Surestart” centre which is divided between sites at Westgate and Newburgh Primary Schools.
Staff there had already been warned that they might be facing seven per cent cuts to their cash allocations. But it could be more than double that if the Labour group’s assessment of the budget agreed by the ruling Conservative group is accurate.
County councillor Tim Naylor (Lab, Leamington Willes) tried to mitigate the potential loss by proposing a combination of ‘in-house’ cuts including to county councillors’ personal allowances.
He believed an extra £500,000 could be freed up if the councillors reduced their expenses and there were savings at the press office and in the development of IT, hopefully by “natural wastage” rather than redundancies.
Cllr Naylor said: “The money would soften to blow towards the under fives receiving pre-school education in a total of seven centres throughout Warwick and Leamington. But this idea was rejected.
In Warwick both the Action for Children facility and the nursery school received “outstanding” Ofsted reports last year.
Town councillor John Holland (Lab, West Ward), who was at Shire Hall to hear the debate, said afterwards: “I sit on the steering group for the local Action for Children run which is split between the Westgate and Newburgh sites and can tell you that without proper funding the people most at risk in our community will be our very youngest children.
“I know from personal experience that every penny of the money given to these children’s centres is well spent. Not only on the children but on counselling and supporting mothers with skills to help them get back into the workplace.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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