Funding hit for two-year-olds

Youngsters at Playdays Nursery and (below) Coun Sarah Riding.
Youngsters at Playdays Nursery and (below) Coun Sarah Riding.
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A NURSERY owner has labelled cuts to funding for pre-school children as “disgusting” after money was taken away from education budgets.

Cuts to the Early Intervention Grant will see £450m shaved off the national £2.3bn fund and only £1.7bn given back to councils to spend on whatever they see fit.

Coun Sarah Riding

Coun Sarah Riding

Blackpool Council says a Government grant of £261,000 was given to them last year as extra funding to teach two-year-olds home skills and to distribute across nurseries.

But now the council is unsure how much cash it will get next year and says it will have to prepare for budget shortfalls.

The Government decision has angered Philip Holmes, owner of Playdays Nursery, on Salthouse Avenue, Blackpool.

He said: “It’s disgusting because we don’t get enough for the service we provide now.

“It’s going to hinder a lot of children.

“We are fighting for what we can get from the council every day but it’s tough and compared to some parts of the country we are at the bottom of the scale.”

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We know it will mean a reduction in the Early Intervention Grant, but are awaiting more information as to the exact reduction in Blackpool, and how it will affect services.

“One thing we do know is the funding for nursery places for two-year-olds will remain unaffected, but it’s still a blow we will have to prepare for further budget shortfalls in such an important area.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education added: “This money has never been ring-fenced, so Local Authorities have more freedom to spend it where it is needed.”

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