Parents pause legal bid against Somerset council cuts

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Gemma Drummond-Walker and her son MaxImage source, Gemma Drummond-Walker
Image caption,
Gemma Drummond-Walker is fighting county council cuts as her son Max has special needs

Families fighting Somerset County Council's cuts to its special educational needs (Send) budget have paused their legal challenge.

Two families called for a judicial review on 5 December but now claim the council has agreed to review its plans.

James Betts, from Irwin Mitchell, said: "The council's decision to rethink its original plans is an important step forward on this issue."

The council denied the move was due to a rethink on their part.

"We confirm that decisions taken in September and referred to in the correspondence from Irwin Mitchell were validly taken and the council remains committed to carrying out proper consultation in relation to any future proposals," the statement said.

"That is not the result of a 'rethink', it has been the council's policy throughout."

The plans include cutting funding for youth groups and axing staff from the GetSet programme, which provides support to vulnerable families.

Irwin Mitchell is acting on behalf of seven-year-old Max Drummond-Walker.

His mother Gemma said: "The SEN (Special Educational Needs) budget is already thin and I am concerned the council's proposals will only make matters worse.

"We hope that any future decision will put the welfare of Max and other children in a similar position first."

She said the legal challenge would resume if a new decision was not made.

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