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Extra cuts to early intervention funds enrage councils

By Vivienne Russell | 15 January 2013

Councils are calling on the government to explain why it has made new and unexpected cuts of almost £50m to funds intended to support disadvantaged children and families.

The Local Government Association said today that councils will lose £17m in 2013/14 and a further £32m in 2014/15 following the abolition of the Early Intervention Grant.

The EIG is being scrapped as part of the localisation of business rates and its funds incorporated in councils’ new ‘start-up funding assessments’. But figures in last month’s local government finance settlement revealed that the equivalent value of the grant in the new assessments had been cut by 1% for the next financial year and 2% in the following year.

In addition, the Department for Education is going to hold on to £150m of its funding for councils.

Local authorities say these cuts will affect their ability to fund Sure Start centres, youth services and the Connexions careers advice service.

David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s children and young people’s board, said councils wanted an explanation of why both sets of cuts were made and how central government planned to spend the retained money.

He said: ‘The government needs to explain why this extra money is being taken from local communities and announce how the funding it has already taken away will be put to use.

‘The uncertainty is working against everything the government is trying to achieve in lowering the long-term cost of social dysfunction through early intervention. Councils are rightly expected to consult in a timely fashion with local communities and explain how money is allocated and spent. We expect the government to do the same.’

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