Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Council warns of "damaging" cuts to disadvantaged children

COUNCIL bosses have warned of the “damaging” impact of a 23.1 per cent cut in cash to improve childrens’ life chances.

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In its official response to the Government, the Conservative-controlled authority warned over a cut to its Early Intervention Grant (EIG) from £7.4m to £5.7m from April 1.

The grant is used to support disadvantaged children and families, for example through children’s centres.

The council said: “The significant reductions in EIG funding outlined in the summer and confirmed in the provisional settlement are challenging for local authorities to manage and could have a potentially damaging effect on important preventative services as the scope for managing such reductions shrinks further each year.”

And it said it has “yet to see a justification” for the Government to retain £150m EIG cash nationally and the “delay in announcing how this funding will be distributed to local authorities makes it difficult to plan effectively for the new financial year”.

The cut means the council is the 37th hardest hit out of 153 English councils.

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It also said it “strongly disagreed” with a decision to give it cash for school support services in a grant than include it in its general budget.

It said the £5.1m grant was “substantially higher” than it needed because it is based on national average spending, leaving it £1.8m short in its budget.

It said: “Low-spending authorities will be penalised for their efficiency.”

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