Budget cuts fail children, say LabourBy Jennie Slevin
March 12, 2013
Children across the borough are being failed by harsh budgets, claim Labour councillors.
The opposition has called for £50,000 to be set aside for careers guidance officers in schools, £150,000 for school improvement and £30,000 on extra youth workers after the 2013/14 budget proposed slashing £295,000 from youth services.
Labour party leader Councillor Mary Temperton put forward the amendment to the budget at Bracknell Forest’s full council meeting on Wednesday, February 27.
Labour Cllr Tricia Brown said: “Conservatives are cutting even more from children’s services, just like they did last year. Youth provisions and support for schools are all being cut.
“Our children will shape our future and you’re failing them.
“You’re blind and you’re wasting opportunities to improve behaviour, education and families.”
Conservative Cllr Dale Birch, executive member for adult services, health and housing, replied: “I will not be personally attacked or have any member in this chamber attacked.
“There’s not a single member that’s blind to this borough’s needs.”
He added: “I’m totally opposed to this amendment.
“Our record of careful budgeting is second to none, and a last minute amendment would do absolutely no justice to the months of planning.”
Cllr Temperton’s amendment also suggested members took a 20 per cent cut in their allowances, which the Tories disagreed with.
Cllr Gareth Barnard, executive member for children, young people and learning, also hit out at the two Labour councillors.
He said: “We will not be falling into the trap of the Labour Government. We will not be spending large amounts of money on individual projects.
“Labour’s motto has always been ‘spend, spend, spend’ but this budget is about sustainability.”
The Warfield councillor explained £79 million, which used to be given to the council to spend on schools, now come directly from central Government to schools.
He added: “Children in this borough are safe and we are not failing them.
“The work we have done towards reducing domestic violence has been effective and we’re still targeting repeat offenders who blight the lives of our children in the borough.”
The amendment was not accepted and the proposed 2013/14 budget was approved.