Ruth George MP calls on council to explain cuts to children’s services

High Peak MP Ruth George has challenged Derbyshire Conservatives to explain why it is making cuts to children’s services against the advice of a government minister.

In a letter to DCC Leader Cllr Barry Lewis, the MP asks the Council to reconsider its planned budget cut in the light of a statement made by education minister, Nadhim Zahawi, last week.

Speaking in the House of Commons Ruth told the minister about Tory Derbyshire County Council’s plan to cut £3m from children’s services, including £400,000 from special needs and disability services.

“Schools are already struggling, so how on earth will these cuts help, and how will the Government ensure that support for special needs children is improved?”, she asked.

The Minister replied that: “No local authority needs to cut those services.”

In her letter to Cllr Lewis, Ruth says she has been contacted by many constituents in High Peak who were concerned that their children with special needs are not receiving the support they need in school, and that in too many cases were receiving no support at all for conditions such as autism or Mental Health conditions which prevent children from attending school.

“I know too that the county’s Education Psychology Service is highly rated and in much demand from schools. I am therefore very concerned that further cuts are planned to this service, which in turn will have a detrimental impact on diagnosing children with special needs.”

Ruth goes on to ask how much government grant Derbyshire County Council will get to replace funding cut and what impact will be of the cuts to the Education Psychology Service.

She also calls on the council to explain how it will improve Children’s Services and the support received by children with Special Educational Needs, Mental Health problems and disabilities.

 

Link to Hansard: https://goo.gl/vEbixQ

Text of letter to DCC Leader, Cllr Barry Lewis

Dear Cllr Lewis

I was sorry to hear of the recommendations to Full Council tomorrow (Wednesday) to cut £12 million from services, including £5 million from adult social care and nearly £3 million from children’s services.

I am contacted by many constituents in High Peak who are concerned that their children with special needs are not receiving the support they need in school, and in too many cases are receiving no support at all for conditions such as autism or Mental Health conditions which prevent children from attending school.

I have already raised these problems with the Council and have met with the Director and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.

I know too that the county’s Education Psychology Service is highly rated and in much demand from schools. I am therefore very concerned that further cuts are planned to this service, which in turn will have a detrimental impact on diagnosing children with special needs.

I raised the cuts with the Education Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP, at Education Questions on Monday.  In response to my question:

“My county of Derbyshire is about to cut almost £3 million from children’s services, including almost £400,000 from special needs and disability services to support children. Schools are already struggling, so how on earth will these cuts help, and how will the Government ensure that support for special needs children is improved?”

The Minister responded:

“No local authority needs to cut those services. There is actually over £9 billion being invested in children’s services because, as in the case of Hackney, for example, it is seen as a priority, so there is no reason for a local authority to do that.” (Col 539, Hansard)

In light of the Minister’s response, please would you let me know how much government grant Derbyshire County Council will get to replace funding cut and what impact will be of the cuts to the Education Psychology Service.

I would also like to know how Derbyshire County Council  will be improving Children’s Services and the support received by children with Special Educational Needs, Mental Health problems and disabilities in order that I can inform my constituents.

I look forward to your reply.