Will Forster

Former Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Lib Dems call for Surrey County Council to prepare for loss of special needs court case

by willforster on 6 August, 2018

My Lib Dem colleagues at County Hall and I are calling for Surrey County Council to make urgent financial preparations following a recent judgement in Bristol in which a group of parents successfully challenged Bristol City Council’s decision to make deep cuts in special educational needs (SEND) provision.  Parents in Surrey have launched a similar judicial review challenging the County Council on cuts to its SEND budget of £21 million, which will be heard in October this year.

Surrey County Council is planning to cut millions from its SEND budget against the background of greatly increasing demand.  The judgement in Bristol should alarm the ruling Conservatives at County Hall as well as leaders of local authorities across the country whose finances are teetering on the brink of disaster – not just Northamptonshire but also East Sussex, Somerset and others.

Children with special needs should not bear the strain of such deep cuts, which could mean that they lose the provision they need, to which they are legally entitled.  Unless the Government urgently addresses funding for local authorities, innocent children will suffer.

It is now irrelevant whether councils were well managed in the past – Surrey was clearly not – what matters is that children and other vulnerable groups do not suffer because local government is now so badly underfunded.

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