Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
Council cuts stripping authorities to core
The County Council Network has warned that the ‘worst is yet to come’ as it predicts ‘unpalatable cutbacks’ next year amid further reductions to local authority funding.
Council leaders say that they must identify at least £1 billion in savings to plug a £1.5 billion shortfall by 2020, leaving many councils with no option but to strip their services back to a minimum 'core offer' .
The government maintains that its current approach to council funding, which will induce a real term funding increase this year, is relieving pressure on local government and ensuring taxpayers do not face excessive bills. However, town hall bosses say local government funding, through the revenue support grant, will have been cut by around 60 per cent by 2020.
Asking its members about their budgets and what they planned to cut next year, the CCN discovered that all 36 responded identifying significant cost pressures, including a growth in demand in children's and adult social care, inflation and rising costs outside of their control. The survey revealed council bosses had already ear-marked £1 billlion worth of services as potential sources of savings, with some £685 million of those are to balance the books going forward.
Paul Carter, chairman of the County Council Network and leader of Kent County Council said: "Counties will work hard to deliver the savings required, but the scope for making deliverable savings has dramatically reduced, and decisions for next year will be truly unpalatable if we are to fulfil our statutory duties. Without additional resource, the worst is yet to come."
A separate survey of 25 councils found out that 58 per cent said highways and transport, including road improvements, streetlights, pothole filling, would be cut, while 47 per cent said libraries, 45 per cent said early years and youth clubs, 44 per cent ear-marking public health services like smoking cessation, sexual health, substance misuse and 36 per cent said children's services.