December comment from Cllr Howard Sykes, LGA Lib Dem Group Leader

Children need adults to advocate on their behalf. Remember - they don’t vote, and sadly often feature low on the list of MP’s postbag issues. Yet children have borne austerity’s brunt.


Children need adults to advocate on their behalf.  Remember - they don’t vote, and sadly often feature low on the list of MP’s postbag issues. Yet children have borne austerity’s brunt.

Over 120 organisations recently asked the chancellor to put children at the heart of government spending. There is also a growing body of organisations voicing concern like the National Audit Office, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the all-party parliamentary group for children, illustrating the growing pressures facing our services. 

The Budget contained some welcome respite for local authorities, but children were not at its heart. It also ignored one of the biggest financial risks to many council and school balances – the ballooning demand for special educational needs and disability (SEND) and high needs funding. All we got was few coppers for a few “extras” in schools. That will do nothing for the many children who arrive at school hungry and far from ready to learn.

Without more cash many councils will cut their few non-statutory services – which prevent children needing statutory social care and SEND services – to pay the spiralling cost of statutory services.  Children’s services are now in a worse state than adult social care.

It’s a vicious cycle, and one it looks like continuing. We must continue to speak up for children’s services which is the “hidden crisis in local government”.