One in four councils plan children’s services cuts

Around a quarter of councils are planning cuts in children’s care services this year as they struggle to cope with austerity and rising demand, a survey has found. The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) annual State of Local Government Finance Survey of council leaders found that children’s services and education is the top immediate financial pressure they face amid ongoing budget cuts and financial uncertainty. Of those leaders surveyed by the think-tank, 24 per cent said they are looking to reduce activity in children’s care services due to budget constraints. The same proportion are planning youth centre cuts, with 16 per cent saying special education and disability support will be cut. Supporting more families with complex needs is the top reason cited for children’s services becoming a growing financial pressure. This is mentioned by 59 per cent of those surveyed. More than half (57 per cent) say increasing numbers of children being taken into care was a key driver, while 52 per cent mentioned the pressure of supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities. Read more.