SATS - Cllr Laura Smith, Crewe South, Labour (1)

Children and adult services are so underfunded that Cheshire East Council will have to abandon roadworks and waste collection to pay for them without government cash, a councillor has warned.

That was the stark warning from chair of Cheshire East Council’s children and families committee as she backed a call from Crewe councillor Laura Smith (Lab) for wealthy tax avoiders to pay their fair share.

Cllr Smith’s question was put to children and families chair Kathryn Flavell (Lab) by Cllr Suzanne Brookfield at Wednesday’s full meeting of the council.

Cllr Brookfield (Crewe East, Lab) said: “Our failure to support children as early as possible will just lead to greater problems in the future.

“Does the chair of children and families committee agree with me that enough is enough and it is about time every single members of this council called on the richest in society to pay the tax they can well afford ,and have long avoided, and stop expecting everyone else to foot the bill?”

Cllr Flavell replied: “The reduction, year on year, of funding to the council has caused tremendous pressures within children services and adults and yet these services, many of them are statutory so we have no choice but to supply these services.”

She said 70% of council tax in Cheshire East goes on children’s services and adult social care and these should have a much better public funding base.

“Many councils are facing financial difficulties because of the lack of funding in high needs.

“We know this is an ongoing issue that is a national problem.

“Until we get some real investment into children’s services then it will affect the safety and the wellbeing of our children because the council, eventually, will not be doing any road works, we will not be doing any waste collection because every single penny that we have will have to go on to our statutory services and this just cannot go on.

“We need to call for better funding for children’s services from the government.”

(story by local democracy reporter Belinda Ryan)

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