On a visit to a children’s centre in Norwich Jeremy Corbyn MP warned of a “national emergency” facing children’s services.
His visit to Norwich follows Tory-run Norfolk County Council’s decision to shut 46 of 53 children’s centres by this time next year.
Jeremy Corbyn highlighted figures showing that 23,000 children under the age of five have used these centres in the past year, warning that these cuts could cause long-term damage to children’s lives and lead to more children in care, excluded from school or falling prey to criminal gangs.
The Labour leader calsl on the Government to end the ‘tragic false economy’ of cutting services that support children and young people, demanding that the Chancellor uses the Budget next week to provide the funds “urgently needed to keep children safe”.
Pointing to the ongoing mental health care crisis, Jeremy Corbyn warns of a growing crisis in public services that support children, with only one in four young people who require mental health services able to access help from the NHS, and a surge in the number of children being taken into care pushing overstretched local authorities towards financial catastrophe.
In an open letter this week to Philip Hammond and Theresa May from a coalition of 120 organisations including charities, teaching unions and medical colleges, the Government was warned that children’s services are at breaking point.
Local authorities have warned that council-run children’s services are fast approaching a “tipping point” and are struggling to maintain services in the face of a funding gap of £3bn by 2025. Council leaders are calling for new funding for children’s services in the budget following the publication of Department for Education figures showing that the number of children supported through a child protection plan increased by more than 2,700 over the past year, the largest increase since 2014 and an 84% increase over the past decade.
Jeremy Corbyn said “Tory austerity is putting children’s lives in danger. Cutting the services that protect and support children and young people is a tragic false economy that will blight the lives of millions of children and young people.
“These cuts risk more children ending up in care, excluded from school or falling prey to gang violence. This is a national emergency. If austerity is over as Theresa May has claimed, the Chancellor must use the budget next week to provide the funds urgently needed to keep children safe.”