Early intervention funding for councils is to be cut by an additional £49m over the next two years, striking a further blow to targeted support for disadvantaged children and young people.
Analysis of figures in the autumn statement conducted by the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed that an additional £17m will be cut from council funding in 2013/14, followed by an extra £32m cut in 2014/15.
The LGA is calling on ministers to explain why they are cutting council funding further, on top of Department for Education plans to retain £150m of early intervention cash centrally in 2013/14 and 2014/15 for “future use”.
David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, sent a letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove in October 2012 asking about the £150m “top-slice”, but has yet to receive a response.
He warned that the new cuts will significantly exacerbate the problems caused by the initial top-slice cut, reducing the money that is available to fund services including Sure Start centres, youth services and Connexions.
“This money is vital for funding services for some of the most disadvantaged people in our society and the drawn-out uncertainty over how much will be available to councils and what it can be used for is making it extremely difficult to plan at a local level,” he said.
“The uncertainty is working against everything the government is trying to achieve in lowering the long-term cost of social dysfunction through early intervention.
“Local authorities are already facing a 33 per cent cut in the funding they receive from government and any additional cuts further undermine their ability to deliver local services.”
SOURCE: Children & Young People Now