Somerset

Petition sparks debate on cuts to children's services

A petition signed by more than 1,000 people has triggered a debate on cuts to children's services in Bath and North East Somerset.

Early years spending is to be cut by £1.8m by the authority but one parent said the service offered "a lifeline" and helped to prevent isolation".

The debate will take place on 16 January.

It had originally been feared the service would take a £2.3m cut but councillors are hoping to avoid this.

'How to play'

Netty Williams, from Radstock, who signed the petition, said: "I speak to a lot of parents that use children's centres and I know how important that is.

"They often describe it as a lifeline, it prevents isolation, it helps parents learning how to play with their children, just little things that we don't necessary have in our culture anymore that it really supports."

The council said it had "listened carefully to the views and opinions from the public".

Councillor David Bellotti, cabinet member for community resources, said the budget settlement from central government was not as bad as feared.

He added that "more money is available than expected to fund the day-to-day services that the cabinet considers a priority".

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