Labour blunder cuts £1.9m of funding for disabled children in Barnet, but Council Leader averts crisis

An incredible blunder by Labour Group Deputy Leader Cllr Barry Rawlings has effectively cut all Short Breaks funding provided by the council to institutions across Barnet, along with a whole range of other support services for children with disabilities, to the value of £1.9m.

The Labour member ‘called in’ the Cabinet Resources Committee report that extended the contracts for these services to the Business Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday evening and then, with colleagues, voted that it be sent back to the administration. Without these contract extensions, the council is left without the legal power to pay its providers, meaning services would have to be stopped.

Council Leader Cllr Richard Cornelius said:

“This needs to be reversed. I am taking urgent action to avoid these services being wrecked.

“Cllr Rawlings and Labour have created a right constitutional mess and have effectively removed all funding from these organisations. In their attempts to make the funding of Short Breaks at Mapledown School a political football – never having highlighted or varied this particular saving in their budget amendment – they have recklessly made the situation much worse.

“Labour are faffing around calling for meetings, but what they’ve done needs urgent action and cannot wait for a committee meeting to be called. This is no longer just about Short Breaks, but also about children in care, mental health services and all sorts. I am ensuring that these services can continue.”

With no more Cabinet Resource Committee meetings able to take place before the election, the long term funding issue for Mapledown is to be reviewed by the new Education Committee under the new Council.

Council Leader Cllr Richard Cornelius continued:

“The Mapledown situation needs to be determined by the new committee and so I will ensure their funding, to maintain services at the existing level, for one year to give the school a chance to adjust and for alternate funding to be found.”

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