Lib Dems condemn 40% budget cuts for Children’s Centres
Liberal Democrat county councillors have condemned cuts of up to 40% in Children's Centre budgets planned for next year by the current Conservative administration - not only the severity of the cuts themselves, but also the way the news of them has been handled. After the planned cuts were reported in a local newspaper this week, the Conservative Leader of the Council issued a hurried briefing note on the matter to all elected members late on Friday afternoon.
Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Eastlands & Hillmorton) said:
"There was no general briefing of elected county councillors, nor any opportunity to debate the scale and nature of these cuts, before they were announced to the management committees of individual Children's Centres. The Conservatives appear to be trying to rush them through while everyone is occupied with the current county election campaign, in the hope that residents will not notice until it's too late."
Lib Dem Children & Young People Spokesperson Cllr Clive Rickhards (Studley) said:
"The Lib Dem manifesto for the county council elections put a high priority on the role of Children's Centres. The budget cuts planned by the Conservatives are totally unsustainable. How can our Children's Centres survive such drastic surgery? Lib Dem councillors will fight to halt these cuts while an urgent review of alternative options is carried out. We all know that there are major funding problems to be grappled with by the new County Council, but it needs new leadership and new ideas to find the way to a sustainable future for our Children's Centres."