calls council's U-turn on cuts a 'knee jerk response to save face'
MP has this week called a decision by Somerset County Council
to put on hold its proposed cuts to the Young Carers' Budget a
jerk response to save face after misjudging the public's reaction
to its devastating proposals."
Munt's comments come after Somerset County Council said that,
following concerns raised by young carers, it is to reconsider
its current proposals for the Young Carers Service, pending further
has welcomed the decision, but told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "The
Council has agreed to give a year to consult Young Carers and
their families about any changes, which is what should have happened
in the first place. Picking on those with the greatest challenges
in life, who are often the silent and unseen backbone of our most
vulnerable families is, in my view, completely 'below the belt'."
annual budget for the 341 young carers is 'tiny', at about £140,000.
John Osman, the council's cabinet member, says he wants change
as the Young Carers' service is "patchy" across Somerset.
The reason the service is "patchy" is because his administration
has run the service down and it has been operating well below
its capacity since early last year. It is understaffing that makes
the service "patchy". I calculated that the number of
hours lost through understaffing was over 2,700. Cllr Osman will
no doubt be quietly celebrating these hidden savings of nearly
£28,000 - 20% of the annual Young Carers' budget for this
"Whilst no one denies the need for savings to be made, Somerset
County Council actually received one the best deals of all the
shire counties. They've an extra £5million in the bank since
last year, and expect to have a total of £34million saved
by the end of the year."
"If Somerset County Council is 'saving for a rainy day,
the Conservative Councillors need to take a look outside, because
it's pouring down. When you have £34million sitting in the
bank, you dont need to whip the carpet out from beneath
the feet of Somerset's most vulnerable young people."
Meanwhile, Cabinet Member John Osman said: "I'm pleased that
following my discussions with young carers over the past few days
and weeks, we have listened to what they have said and we want
to take pause and take stock."
want to work closely with the young carers, their families and
supporters to shape a service that will meet their needs whilst
still allowing us to balance the budget."
current service is patchy and we need to improve it to bring better
help and support to our young carers who have such an important
role. I am committed to seeing this improvement through and will
talk with everyone concerned who wants to contribute to make sure
all views are heard and considered."