Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or upload here
Stay of execution for Mapledown School services
Slashed activities which provide a “lifeline” to disabled children have been given a stay of execution for another year.
Conservatives have cancelled cuts to Mapledown School, in Claremont Road, Cricklewood, in the same week Barnet Borough Council’s cabinet were ordered to reconsider the “appalling” plans.
Labour councillor Barry Rawlings called in the decision to cut £45,000 worth of respite activities for Mapledown School’s disabled children at Wednesday night’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
But after it was passed, council leader Richard Cornelius said this had created a “constitutional mess” and had effectively frozen £1.9m of other its services.
This would have left the authority legally unable to pay any of its providers, including to children in care and the mental health team.
He said he was left with no other choice than to defer the Mapledown decision for 12 months.
He 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.”
Yesterday, the Tory group sparked fury when it refused to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the proposals before the May 22 election.
It will now be reviewed by the new Education Committee under the new council.
Cllr Cornelius continued: “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.
“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.”
Labour leader Cllr Alison Moore said: “The decision to defer the cut is very welcome news - the parents and children will be delighted, but we still need to find a sustainable way forward for the specialist short breaks service.”
Mapledown’s services were slashed in the same year the Tories opted to reduce its council tax income by £1.3m - making an annual saving of just £7.40 for residents on the lowest band.
Parents campaigning against the cuts have been heavily supported by Labour MP candidate Sarah Sackman.
Kristine Canavan, whose son Liam attends the school, previously said: “We won’t give up the fight for our children.”
Comments are closed on this article.