Brent Council to make �3.2million worth of cuts to children services

Town hall plans includes charging youngsters to attend summer university and handing over several responsibilities to schools

Brent Council has set out its next round of cuts which will have the biggest impact on children over the next year.

The Labour-run council is preparing to slash youth services to make savings which will impact on the borough’s most vulnerable families.

Under the plans, �3.2million will go from children’s services alone from April.

Proposals include charging children to attend the popular summer university and passing more responsibilities over to schools.

Children with disabilities could also face losing their transport with new criteria being introduced.

Furious Kathleen Jackson, chairman of Chalkhill Residents’ Association, said: “It just doesn’t make sense. The council needs to be investing in our children’s future. It needs to be reminded that if you are not looking after the young then the older people will bear the brunt.

Most Read

“It is putting too much pressure on schools which should be providing education not social services. I’m speechless.”

The plans would see the Connexions service, which helps young people with career and university choices, passed over to schools to run, saving the council �550,000.

Schools would also have to foot the bill for youngsters with mental health needs to save another �150,000.

The future of the borough’s children’s centres is also in jeopardy as the council desperately tries to plug the gap. Glynis Lee, from charity Brent Play Association which is campaigning to save Stonebridge Adventure Playground, said: “Cuts to services are always of a concern but especially if they involve children.

“The community will have to come together and support the youth services under threat and come up with imaginative ways of saving them.

“There are creative ways of doing this and unfortunately large organisations don’t always have the ability to do this.

“Unfortunately, it is always the poorest families who suffer the worst.”

During the next financial year, the council will have to make another �14million of cuts.

It has to make �104million in savings by 2014.

Councillor Mary Arnold, lead member for children and families, said: “There will still be free places for children at the summer university if they are on free school meals.

“Local councils have to do more with less. We want to make sure all young people are included and widening the service so we reach out to the families most in need. We will be reviewing the impact of the changes.”