A SENIOR councillor has “grave concerns” about plans which could see more than £20 million slashed from the children’s services budget in Hampshire.

Hampshire County Council has proposed to slash its budget across the board by more than £20m in a bid to save £80m by April 2023.

It has been proposed by Hampshire County Council that £21.3m is taken from the budget for children’s services, which will see £7.7m cut from children’s social care, £336,000 from education and community services and £2.5m cut from the home-to-school transport pot, with plans to review how the service is provided and develop direct relationships between schools and operators.

Reacting to the news, the leader of the Basingstoke Labour group, Councillor Andrew McCormick, said that he is disappointed with Hampshire County Council for the proposed cuts, despite understanding the finical pressures the council face.

He said: “I find it extremely disappointing that once again they are cutting children’s services.”

The leader of the opposition said he is particularly concerned about the cuts after the nation has seen "skyrocketing" cases of child poverty.

He added: “This is not a new thing in Hampshire, they cut our children’s centres five years ago and they will continue to cut through to the bone and into the marrow.”

The proposals have been criticised due to the impact they will have on young people across the county.

Cllr McCormick added:“There is no floor beneath which they won’t go in terms of funding.”

Cllr McCormick joins the criticism and said he has very "grave concerns" about the quality of children’s services and education in Hampshire.

In the report, a further £178,000 will be slashed from the Youth Offending Team budget, with staffing levels being reduced.

Cllr McCormick believes much more needs to be done and said it is not just the local councils that are at fault here but the Government to.

He added: “The Government give the country over and above council tax to fund education. They need to give them more; they need to stop this agenda that has culminated in cuts to children’s services.”

He believes the cuts could have a ‘knock-on effect’ for children in the future.

He said: “What happens when children get into later life and we are clearing up the problems then, the mental health problems, the crime and disorder problems.

“People not achieving their full potential in education.”

The proposals won’t go ahead until both the cabinet and full council approve the plans.

Will you be affected by the proposed cuts to child services? If you would like to speak to a reporter in confidence, please contact us to share your story.

Email jemma.cullum@basingstokegazzete.co.uk