Norfolk County Hall cuts: Children services impact

The budget for children's services will see cuts totalling around �24.4m in the coming year followed by �13.6m and �7.3m in the two years after that.

While County Hall has thought again on school/college transport plans, there has been no such U-turn for youth services which are to be completely axed in a bid to save �3.8m in the coming year. Funding for services to support looked-after children is also being cut by �2.8m and family support services are also being hit with a �2.3m cut. A transport subsidy for youngsters going to denominational schools is also being axed. In fact reprieve only came in the form of retaining a �21,000 grant to support the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Stephen Bett, chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, warned that the cuts in youth services would mean that others may have to pick up the tab when dealing with the potential problems of increased anti-social behaviour.

'We now know that County Hall is slashing and burning when it comes to areas like youth services,' Mr Bett said.

'We are going to have to pick up the pieces in terms of the impact on crime and will find ourselves dealing with kids out on the street who we haven't previously encountered. Inevitably we are going to find our resources stretched even further.'

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Council leader Derrick Murphy said: 'I accept that this recommendation to agree the full savings amount may disappoint many.

'However, my cabinet colleagues and I have taken into account the fact that this service represents only a part of the support the authority gives to young people and that many services for young people will continue.

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'Our discussions throughout the consultation period led us to conclude there is potential for local communities to do more to support their young people, and this provides fertile ground for continued dialogue.'

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