The Labour Group at Suffolk County Council has warned that deep cuts to children’s services are causing ‘irreparable damage to Suffolk’s children’.
The comments come after analysis of official figures by Action for Children, Barnardo’s, NSPCC, The Children’s Society and the National Children’s Bureau which showed that Suffolk’s available funding for children’s services had fallen by £24.7 million, a 26% reduction from 2010.
Cllr Jack Abbott, Labour’s spokesman for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said; “This report should be a wake-up call – with one voice these charities are saying that children’s services have been pushed to breaking point with thousands of children being put at risk.
“Suffolk has lost a quarter of its funding and vital services such as children’s centres have been closed because of this crippling austerity.
“When you combine this loss of funding with rising child poverty levels, school budget cuts, inadequate mental health provision and woeful support for SEN, the picture is incredibly bleak for Suffolk’s children and young people.”
The figures also showed that spending on early intervention had fallen by 38% in the county, a situation which Cllr Abbott described as ‘creating a crisis for the future’;
“The cost of late invention is significant and we are already seeing the ramifications of withdrawing nearly 40% of spending on early intervention.
“The emotional and mental damage that an absence of timely, effective and holistic children’s services can cause is immense and it exposes hundreds of vulnerable children to sexual and criminal exploitation.
“These unabating cuts are a false economy, both socially and financially – we desperately need the Tories in central and local government to change course and start funding these services properly.”