Liberal Democrat councillors launch petition to halt potential cuts to children’s services across Cambridgeshire

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Cambridgeshire County Council, Councillor Lucy Nethsingha.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Cambridgeshire County Council, Councillor Lucy Nethsingha. - Credit: Archant

Local Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners have launched a petition to halt potential cuts of £1 million to children’s centres in East Cambridgeshire and Fenland.

The petition says that the cuts proposed by Cambridgeshire County Council, including services currently provided at 21 centres, will lead to a significant reduction in support for families across the county.

The proposal, which includes plans “relocate” centres in Sutton and Murrow, was discussed by the county council at a committee meeting on Tuesday (11). A consultation will then be carried out from July 17 – timing which has angered Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Lucy Nethsingha.

“A consultation which takes place over the school holidays is one which many parents will be too busy to engage with,” she said.

“This scheme is a direct result of Conservative councillors’ decision in February not to accept our proposal for a small council tax rise of just 45p per household per week.”

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Cllr Lorna Dupré, county councillor for Sutton, added: “The council’s proposals don’t come clean about what services are provided now, and what will remain after the cuts have taken place.

“They don’t explain how far people will have to travel to access the services that are left, or how they will get there if they live in rural areas where bus services have been cut to the bone.”

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The county council, however, says a decision will not be made until the results of the consultation have been reviewed.

Theresa Leavy, interim service director for children and families, said: “If agreed by committee, this consultation is the chance for communities across Cambridgeshire to have their say. We’ve done extensive mapping to focus where our children centre services are required and also what that offer needs to be.

“However, this is only part of the jigsaw and we need families, community organisations, residents and current and potential service users to give us their valuable insight on whether these proposals are what are needed where they live.

“We really want to get this right for Cambridgeshire and we can’t do this unless you have your say so please share your views from 17 July.”

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