Let austerity end for the children first

By Rachel Dickinson | 28 May 2019

Earlier this month the Commons local government select committee added yet more evidence to the national debate about the growing pressures in children’s services. Helpfully, the committee made clear that the current envelope of funding for children’s services is insufficient and endorsed our view that time-limited pots of funding for some local authorities, and not others, is not a replacement for a sustainable, equitable core funding for all.

Local authorities are ambitious about providing high quality services for vulnerable children, young people and their families but this is becoming increasingly tough. Our ability to improve children’s experiences and their outcomes is being hampered by a sustained period of austerity, a 50% reduction in our budgets and rising levels of need in communities. There was a little respite in the autumn statement but again it was one-off funding which fell far short of what is needed. Moreover, the list of new responsibilities for us continues to grow and however welcome these new duties are – for example extending support for care leavers up to 25-years-old – they’re rarely fully funded. On top of this, our existing preventative duties have never been sufficiently funded either, which only adds to the pressures we face.

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