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Councillor hits out at early help cuts

Published Tuesday, 01 March 2016

A leading city councillor has hit out at Government cuts in early help services for children that estimate a reduction in funding of 56% between 2010 and 2020.

Cllr Ed Ruane, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, was responding to the release of a report by three national children’s charities.

The ‘Losing in the Long Run’ report, published by Action for Children, the National Children’s Bureau and The Children’s Society, questions the sustainability of further cuts to the early intervention services.

The report says Government spending on early support in the West Midlands has been cut by up to 72%.

Coventry City Council’s own figures show the amount the authority received in the Early Intervention Grant (EIG) in 2010 was £19.5m.

The EIG allocation helped fund areas then such as Sure Start, short breaks for disabled children, teenage pregnancy and targeted mental health in schools.

The allocation is now part of the overall settlement for the Council, but it is expected to be £8.6m in 2016/17 (£19.5m in 2010) and £6.6m by 2019/20.

Approximately £2m of the funding was transferred to the Dedicated Schools Grant in 2013/14, so the impact of the predicted EIG reduction is predicted to be 56% by 2019/20.

Cllr Ruane said: “I believe funding should be increasing in this crucial area, but instead we’re seeing the opposite and it is just storing up greater and potentially more expensive issues for later in life.

“Early intervention is absolutely vital in helping children and families deal with problems before they get the chance to spiral and become a bigger problem.”  

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