Scrutiny chairman says it’s a ‘risky budget’ that could affect some of the most vulnerable people in Cambridgeshire
I looked through the proposed budget by Cambridgeshire County Council for children and young people’s services and the first thing that struck me was the amount of cuts to vital front line services that are being proposed.
I don’t want to make any cuts to the vital services that we provide. The budget that is being put forward is a very risky budget and it will affect the most vulnerable people and families in Cambridgeshire.
The Children and Young Peoples services are already stretched to its limit and you can’t run a service like this one on a shoe string budget.
I have worked on the front line and when you keep cutting services you demoralise the workforce as this budget will undoubtedly do. It affects children’s centres countywide. These centres provide somewhere a child can have contact with a parent in a safe environment, valuable information to young families and amongst other front line services. I also believe that if you keep taking from an organisation eventually it will implode and all the frontline services will disappear completely from the control of the local authority. You then go down the road of tendering out services to private organisations and they are only in it for one reason and that is profit.
The youth service does some really great work keeping young people on track and out of trouble. They also offer sound advice to young people. The detached youth work that is happening in communities all over Cambridgeshire must continue and should not be subject to more cuts in service.
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Family intervention project are a very successful team who help the most disadvantaged families in Cambridgeshire. They help with a variety of things that affect a family, they are a great team and they cannot afford to lose any part of their budget.
I am delighted to see that disabled children will not have to suffer too many cuts as their personal budgets should cover any transport cost. As a father of two sons with disabilities this is a subject close to my heart and I know how much of a struggle it is for the parents.
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This is only a tip of a very large iceberg and it’s not only my budget that has been cut, it’s across the board. I don’t want to be arguing with colleagues about budget cuts in frontline services. I want there to be a harmonious working way within Cambridgeshire County Council but I feel that while government keep on cutting the grants to the county each year we will struggle to maintain the present levels of service.
With all of the county councillors working together hopefully the cuts won’t be too severe.
Paul Clapp (Cllr)
(Chairman of Cambs CC Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee)