Thank you for contacting me about funding for children’s services. Children’s services provide a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable children and families in our area and across the country.
However, local authorities have experienced unprecedented cuts to funding since 2010. Indeed, analysis by Action for Children, Barnardo’s, NSPCC, the Children’s Society and the National Children’s Bureau shows that funding available for children’s services has fallen by a third per child in England.
The Local Government Association (LGA) notes that councils have worked hard to protect budgets for essential child protection services, but funding pressures have led to difficult decisions elsewhere, leaving children and young people unable to access support until they reach breaking point. The Chancellor’s small funding increase for children’s social care, announced at the Budget in October, is a short-term sticking plaster and this is having to be shared with adult social care. This money will come nowhere near to addressing the national emergency facing children’s services.
I am alarmed by the LGA’s findings that children’s services still face a £3 billion funding gap by 2025. With cuts set to continue while demand rises, more children will lose out on these vital services, and I am concerned that the devastating impact of austerity will be felt in the most vulnerable communities for years to come.
At the last general election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to relieve immediate pressures on children’s social care and secure sustainable future funding for local government. It pledged to refocus social care to work with families in local communities to prevent children becoming at risk of going into care. It also committed to tackle child poverty with a new Child Poverty Strategy and pledged to invest in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people.
The current Government has said that it is working closely with the sector to build a “strong evidence base” for long-term children’s services funding as part of the Spending Review, which is due to take place this year. I will continue to urge the Government to tackle the funding crisis facing children’s services across the country.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.
Derek Twigg MP