Green Party councillors put forward plans to save children's centres

19 January 2019

Lambeth Green Party has called on Lambeth Council to take special
measures to protect borough children’s centre services threatened by
funding cuts.

In a question which will be put to the meeting of the full council on
January 21st, Councillor Becca Thackray (Herne Hill) asks the Cabinet
Member for Finance, Councillor Andy Wilson as well as Councillor
Jennifer Brathwaite, Deputy Leader of the Council responsible for
children and young people, to “look at increasing the council’s reserves
by less than is currently proposed in order to mitigate the terrible
effects of the Council’s proposed cuts in funding to children’s
centres”.[1]

Lambeth Council is currently conducting a consultation on the future of
children’s centres.[2] Its proposal is to reduce the number of
children's Centres it operates from 23 to 18. Those due for closure are:
Coin St, Heathbrook, Larkhall, Sunnyhill, WeirLink. In addition to its
question to the full meeting of the council next week, the Green Party
is urging Lambeth residents to respond to the consultation with
“strongly disagree” and to state that the reserves should be used to
keep the centres open.

Green Councillor Nicole Griffiths (St Leonards) said:

“The care and support at these centres is crucial to the wellbeing of
young children. The proposed cuts represent Lambeth Labours inability to
approach policy in a sewn up manner.

“Research shows just how crucial early years care is to help provide the
best start in life. To now cut that care at a time when one in three
Lambeth children are living in poverty and parents are struggling to
make ends meet will have a devastating impact. The Streatham Hub
provides an essential service and we will be fighting to keep it open
and properly funded. Lambeth Council does not need to impose these cuts
when the money can be found from elsewhere"

Councillor Becca Thackray (Herne Hill) said:

“Closure of these children’s centres would be a false economy. In the
long run it doesn't save money and it disadvantages the most vulnerable,
thereby exacerbating the disparity in wealth in the borough and denying
children from the neediest families the help they need to provide their
children with the best possible start in life.

“Investing in thriving, safe, under 5s is not only what we need to do as
a fair authority that recognises some families need that help, but it
pays dividends. Not only do Health Visitors see that but our prisons
house many of those who haven't had that start in life."
 

Notes:

[1] Full text of question: “To: Cabinet Member for Finance - Councillor
Andy Wilson and Deputy Leader of the Council (Children and Young People)
- Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite


Will the Cabinet member look at increasing the council’s reserves by
less than is currently proposed in order to mitigate the injury caused
by the Council’s proposed cuts in funding to children’s centres and
those with SEND, which will hit the most vulnerable Lambeth residents
who are reliant on the help and support that the local authority
provides?”

Each year, Council can choose to increase the reserves (savings) or tap
into them. Lambeth Green Party believes the Council should save less to
spend on vital services now.

[2]
https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/consultations/have-your-say-on-the-future-of-our-children%E2%80%99s-centres






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