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Over half of Tory councillors concerned about children service cuts

Over 50% of Conservative Party councillors surveyed in a recent poll have said that central government funding cuts made it harder for their council to support services for children and young people.

Research published by charity Action for Children, questioned 500 councillors from the Conservative Party on how cuts have affected their ability to provide legally-mandated responsibilities.

The study also found that 38% of the councillors thought there was a “lack of clear direction and funding” on children’s centres, family hubs and family support.

There was also a documented fear for the future of children’s services, with 72% of people surveyed agreeing that long-term funding was a major concern for their council.

The charity say that the figures are increasingly worrying considering one children’s centre a week is closing in the UK. In addition, they believe nearly 200,000 children have fallen behind in their school work by the age of five.

“Our findings show the growing fear that the government is failing in its pledge to give all children the best start in life,” commented Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children.

“Early years services are one of the key lifelines for families living in poor housing, in financial trouble, with mental health issues and those whose own childhood experiences affect their parenting. These lifeline services are being hollowed out, fragmented and cut, and children are bearing the brunt.

“The government needs a bold vision that will give direction and provide local authorities with adequate funding to make sure all our children get the best start in life.

Children’s social services have been an increasingly controversial subject under the current government. Earlier this month the LGA warned that the number of children in care was at a “tipping point”, with record high numbers continuing to rise.

Alongside fears that services could face a £2bn funding gap by 2020, councils will be looking towards the upcoming Autumn Budget for reassurance.

Top image: Brian A. Jackson

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