South East Wales

Nursery services cuts approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf council

Image caption Parents campaigned against the nursery cuts, taking their case to the High Court

Controversial plans to scrap free full-time nursery care for children aged three have been given the go ahead by Rhondda Cynon Taf council.

The change will come into force in September and the council hopes it will save £2.16m a year.

Under the new system, children aged three will now be offered free part-time nursery care but will not get full-time education until age four.

An earlier plan for the changes had led to a High Court hearing by parents.

The High Court ruled the initial consultation process used by the council had been unlawful.

It was revealed in December the authority had to pay £144,000 for the legal costs of nursery campaigners.

Following the high court decision, the council, which is trying to save £70m over four years, then reintroduced the plan under a different consultation process and the cuts were approved.

The change to raise the age for full-time education to four brings the RCT in line with other councils in Wales.

Council leader Andrew Morgan said: "Following an extensive consultation process, cabinet today took the difficult decision to amend funding arrangements for nursery education.

"We made clear at today's meeting that if it were not for the harsh financial realities we face, we would not be considering this option.

"The difficult decision we have taken today will contribute over £2m in savings as we strive to close the initial budget gap faced of £30m."

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