Councillors uphold challenge of Children’s Centre cuts

A cross-party committee of councillors have given their backing to an official challenge of planned cuts to Children’s Centres in Bath and North East Somerset.

At a meeting on Monday 25th November, the Council’s Early Years, Children and Youth panel voted in favour of upholding a call-in of a decision by the authority’s Liberal Democrat Cabinet to push ahead with plans to cut the Council’ Children’s Centres budget by up to 38%.

The committee’s three Conservative councillors and one Labour member voted in favour of upholding the call-in, with the panel’s three Liberal Democrat councillors voting against. The outcome means that the matter will now be referred back to the authority’s Liberal Democrat Cabinet, who will then have an opportunity to reconsider their original decision.

Conservative councillors on the panel argued that the Liberal Democrat Cabinet had failed to adequately respond to a number of the committee’s concerns and called upon the Council to provide greater clarity over the future of Children’s Centres and Early Years support for parents in the area.

Conservative Group Leader Councillor Tim Warren spoke at the meeting urging the panel to send the matter back to the Cabinet. Following the meeting, Cllr Warren said:

“I’m very pleased that the panel decided to uphold this call-in. Families throughout the area are deeply concerned by the Council’s plans to cut the Children’s Centres budget so dramatically, and B&NES has so far failed to provide any reassurance over what services will remain and who will be able to access them.

“By sending this decision back to the Council’s Cabinet, it will allow the Lib Dems to show that they are listening to residents’ concerns, clarify what services will be provided and give a commitment to look again at the scale of cuts currently proposed.”