Conservatives secure protection for children and vulnerable in B&NES budget

Conservative councillors have secured additional protection for children’s services and vulnerable residents in Bath and North East Somerset Council’s budget for the forthcoming year.

During the Council’s budget debate last Tuesday, 18th February, Conservatives secured a number of concessions which will see greater for protection for the Council Advice Services, as well as additional funding for facilities for elderly and disabled people and £50,000 for a new fund to support foster children.

An attempt by the Council’s ruling Liberal Democrats to block the proposals failed after the Conservative amendments gained the support of both Labour and some independent councillors.

The Conservative amendments passed by the Council included:

  • An extra £200,000 for Disabled Facilities Grants, which provide elderly and disabled residents with facilities such as home adaptations to support more independent living;
  • An extra £100,000 to protect the Council’s universally available Advice Services, which are run for the Council by the Citizens Advice Bureau;
  • A new £50,000 Looked After Children Fund, which will provide activities, facilities and equipment for foster children and young disabled people, as well as to support the educational needs of young people in care.

The Council’s decision to approve to this extra funding came in addition to the Liberal Democrat administration agreeing to a Conservative plan to put extra funding back into protecting Children’s Centre services throughout the area.

Conservative shadow Resources spokesman, Cllr Charles Gerrish, commented:

“Our budget proposals aimed to do two things; respond to the priorities of local residents, and protect services to children and the most vulnerable.

“The Council has been running a large budget surplus of £1.6 million and has put a huge amount of money away into its reserves in recent years, so we feel there is the financial scope to protect these priority services.

“We’re therefore very pleased that a number of our budget amendments were agreed by councillors, it’s just sad that for no more than petty political reasons the Liberal Democrats tried to reject every single one of our efforts to protect children and vulnerable residents. I think this will say a lot to residents about where each party’s priorities lie.”