Conservative councillors say cuts to children's services are causing harm


A new poll reveals widespread fears among Conservative councillors about the impact of cuts to children's services.

The survey found that Conservative councillors are concerned their councils will become unsustainable
The survey found that Conservative councillors are concerned their councils will become unsustainable
The Survation poll of 502 Conservative councillors in England, commissioned by The Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), also found that more than half of respondents believe reduced funding for children's services has had a negative impact on children in their area.
 
More than two-thirds of Conservative councillors are concerned their local councils will be financially unsustainable if Government cuts continue over the next five years.

Other findings include:

Two-thirds agreed that central government funding cuts had made it harder for their council to fulfil statutory duties to children and young people like child protection and supporting children in care.

Around six-in-ten councillors said Police, health services and schools had been put under extra pressure by reduced spending on children’s services. 

More than half thought spending on children’s centres would be reduced.

More than four-fifths of respondents said they fear cuts to vital local services, such as support for vulnerable children, could cost their party at the next General Election.
 
The charities are urging the Government to address an estimated £3 billion funding shortfall facing council children’s services departments by 2025, starting with this week’s one-year public spending round. They say funding cuts have forced councils to scale back vital early help for vulnerable children and families, resulting in more children reaching crisis point and requiring more expensive support.

Mark Russell, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said, ‘These findings must act as a real wake-up call for the Government and show that ministers need not just take our word for it that these funding cuts are having a devastating impact upon vulnerable children.

‘Councillors of all political colours are struggling to ensure their councils can provide vital early help for children and families, meaning that problems they face are more likely to reach crisis point and require more expensive interventions which are financially unsustainable for many councils.

‘The Government must address this worrying situation as a matter of urgency, starting with the forthcoming spending announcement – the future of thousands of children may depend upon it.’

Director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, Imran Hussain, said, ‘It’s clear from the widespread fear among frontline Conservatives that the crippling cuts to town hall budgets have gone too far. Stripping back children’s services is not only leaving our most vulnerable children at risk but is also putting additional pressure on the NHS, local schools and the police.

‘Despite being told austerity is at an end, every day at Action for Children we continue to see first-hand the awful impact of children blighted by issues such as abuse and neglect struggling to get the support they need from ailing services which should be keeping them safe and well. 

‘The only way to fix this country’s growing crisis in childhood - and take pressure off our over-stretched nurses, teachers and police officers - is for the Government to start investing in our children. It can do this by establishing a National Childhood Strategy so the Prime Minister can get a grip on these issues, backed with funding for urgently needed services to keep children safe from harm.’

The Government has been contacted for a response.

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