Hampshire County Council set to axe £20m from children's services

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Hampshire County Council Elizabeth ll CourtImage source, Google
Image caption,
The cabinet and full council would have to ratify the proposals

Cuts of more than £20m are set to be made to children's services across Hampshire.

Hampshire County Council is slashing its budget across the board in a bid to save £80m by April 2023.

Children's social care, youth offending, education services and school transport are among the budgets affected.

The authority said it was facing "extremely difficult financial circumstances".

As part of the proposals, £7.7m would be cut from children's social care, £336,000 from education and community services and £2.5m from the home-to-school transport pot.

A further £178,000 would be slashed from the Youth Offending Team budget, with staffing levels being reduced.

The plans have been criticised due to the impact on young people across the county, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

'Greatest need'

Gemma Halford said her 11-year-old son missed his first few days at school in Bordon after transport was not arranged by the county council.

"Missing the first few days at his new school made it even harder for him when he did finally go in.

"This plan to have single contractors for multiple schools won't work, it's only about saving money. That's all they're worried about, not the children," she said.

The proposals are due to be ratified by the cabinet before going to full council for approval.

Councillor Roz Chadd, children's services boss, said Hampshire was the joint highest performing children's services authority under Ofsted's inspection regime.

"Supporting the best possible outcomes for children, young people and families in the greatest need remains at the centre of everything we do," she added.

"It is our responsibility to ensure we continue to do this in safe, appropriate and efficient ways while also managing increased demand for our services, in the face of extremely difficult financial circumstances, both of which have been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic."

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