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Cuts: Opposition leaders Liz Brighouse and Zoe Patrick react
7:30am Friday 6th December 2013 in News
Liz Brighouse, the Labour leader, says:
IT may be that in the foreseeable future there will be no closures of children’s centres, but one of the things they (council leaders) have said they are looking at is how to better integrate these services between children and adults, and they have set up a review group to look at that.
All our children’s centres are different, and all of our early intervention hubs are different, and the amount of money that needs to be saved is large, so we really need to look at how these savings can be made without shutting centres.
It may well be further down the line that there are some very tiny children’s centres, maybe in rural communities, which may need to merge.
But the bit of this budget which worries me the most is adult social care, and older people are not going to make the same sort of noise and have the same sort of clout as the people campaigning for the children’s centres. The impact of other elements of the budget is going to be equally disastrous.
For example, there is a massive cut for people with learning difficulties and special educational needs, and we still need to know exactly how that is going to affect people.
I want to know who these children are and the effect it is going to have on them and their families.
We are in a situation where central government is cutting local government to the core to the point that local government is going to be struggling to function.
We have a government which is hell-bent on destroying local government, and these cuts are coming directly from them.
There has been a lot more consultation and involvement in this budget across the political parties than there has ever been, but that does not mean we as a group support it.
We will be putting forward our own alternative budget and looking in more detail at what is proposed.
Zoe Patrick, the Liberal democrat leader, says:
I think we are all concerned about the potential for future children’s centre closures, but it is unclear at the moment how exactly savings will be made.
The working group set up to look into the centres will be looking at how they can work better together and share services.
There are people in my area who are very, very concerned about losing these centres, particularly those with young children who go there for advice and support.
I think there is definitely a danger of rural isolation in terms of cuts to subsidised transport, and this is something I have been taking this issue up with the council at the moment, because a commercial route through my area is being cancelled.
We are hoping it is something we can get section 106 money to support, because the council is given money by developers for this sort of thing.
If there is not funding for subsidising bus routes there will be communities like this all over the county which could end up without a bus service.
The adult social care figures are a huge concern, especially because older people are not the ones out there on the streets with placards.
It is the vulnerable and the elderly people who will end up suffering the most, and we really have to look very carefully at this.
We know we could have a very hard winter, and I suppose you just don’t know that the demand is going to be like until you get there.
I know they have this £10m of winter pressures funding, but that is only going to put off the problem.
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