Government accused of ‘slashing’ support for those that need it most after it emerges planned net expenditure on children and young people’s services down £956,881 in real terms
According to koodakpress،
Spending on children and young people’s services has been axed by nearly £1bn in real terms over the past six years, new analysis shows, prompting concerns that thousands of families are missing out on “lifeline” support.
The Labour Party has accused the government of “slashing support for those that need it most” after it found the planned net expenditure on services for children and young people has seen a real terms cut of £960m.
The party’s analysis of government figures shows that in 2012 the planned spending stood at £7.9bn, but by 2017 it had fallen to £7.6bn. While this is a nominal cut of more than £300m, it represents a near billion figure when inflation is taken into account.
It comes amid warnings from the Local Government Association (LGA) that local authorities are struggling to provide support for vulnerable children and families, and face a funding gap of £2bn by 2020.
A report by three leading children’s charities in November revealed that “crippling” central government cuts had left councils with no option but to close services designed to detect early signs of child neglect and abuse – forcing them to direct to a “crisis” firefighting model.
Demand for crisis support for children has risen sharply as council spending on services that are designed to spot signs of neglect and abuse early has fallen by 40 per cent between 2010-11 and 2015, the report found. Over the same period, there was a 108 per cent increase in child protection investigations.
A separate study found that benefit cuts and increased levels of poverty across the UK were the primary cause for the surge in demand for children’s services, while a lack of resources to provide universal services like children’s centres and youth clubs also played a significant part.
The new figures come as Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, are due to make a visit to Swindon where all the Sure Start Children’s Centres have been closed down by the Conservative-led council. Spending on children’s and young people’s Services in the South-west has fallen by £51m since 2012.
In light of the new figures, Ms Rayner said: “Children’s services provide a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable children and families across the country, so it is incredibly worrying to see funding has fallen so dramatically in the past six years.”
She went on to accuse the government of “presiding over damaging cuts, slashing support for those that need help the most”.