protesters this week failed to force a change of heart over two cost-saving measures by Sheffield City Council - the cutting of £3.5m from children’s centres and the scrapping of free bus travel for Catholic pupils.
Parents and child care providers lobbied the council’s cabinet (yesterday), but there was no change of strategy over a restructuring of 36 children’s centres, which critics say will hit vulnerable families. However, there will be more consultation.
Managers of the centres, which provide services ranging from midwifery to education for 9,000 under-fives, describe the cuts as catastrophic, throwing services and jobs into doubt. Fears are also being raised over changes to the funding of free nursery child care, which will switch from the council to the Government.