Council cash crisis: Education union members' anger at plans to cut Calderdale's youth services

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“Swingeing” budget cuts will have a detrimental effect on young people across Calderdale, claim union members.

The “angry and disappointed” Calderdale district National Education Union members have written to the council protesting planned cuts to the Children and Young People’s Directorate.

The cuts total around £3m between 2024 and 2027.

One, affecting a supported housing project for care leavers, will realise realise £272,000 in 2024-25 and £762,000 in each of 2025-26 and 2026-27 – although officers say this is actually being taken in-house to save money on a service currently provided externally.

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Calderdale Council members with members of the NEU last yearCalderdale Council members with members of the NEU last year
Calderdale Council members with members of the NEU last year

Other cuts, if approved, would see targeted youth services reduced, saving £99,000 in 2024-25 and £198,000 in each of 2025-26 and 2026-27, reducing the level of preventative work of the Youth Justice Service saving £96,000 in 2024-25 and £192,000 in each of 2025-26 and 2026-27, and revising the council’s non-statutory inclusion funding offer.

In their letter the Calderdale National Education Union members say “the scale of the cuts is startling”.

“This list reads as though some of our most vulnerable young people will be asked to bear the brunt.

“We also worry about job losses – workers should not be the ones made to pay the price for austerity and economic crisis.”

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The members say they know from their work in schools that young people need more support and cuts will just move the burden of care elsewhere.

“Our young people deserve better,” they say.

The members are urging the council to reverse the cuts proposal as well as calling on national government to make good the shortfalls in local council funding.

They add: “In March 2023 councillors were very keen to have their photos taken with our members outside the town hall as we rallied to show support for a motion opposing proposed government cuts to education budgets.

“Yet less than a year later we find the council proposing swingeing cuts of their own that will have a detrimental impact on young people across our community.”

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Cabinet members, recommending the budget be approved by the full council at a special meeting on February 26, say they have no choice but to make cuts to balance the books, citing spiralling social care costs and years of reduced Government funding among the reasons.

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