Published: December 4, 2013
Tessa Munt and Council leader in row over children's centres funding

A war of words has broken out between Somerset County Council and Burnham-On-Sea MP Tessa Munt over statements she made in the House of Commons regarding financial cuts to children's centres.

Speaking in Parliament, Tessa said: "May we have a debate about Somerset County Council's rush to axe children's centres when it has done a skewed consultation, questions were loaded, and the staff have been gagged?"

"Its report shows that it does not even know how many children are affected, and the only failings in the Ofsted report for the two children's centres that I have seen were caused by the council's failings to resource them."

But the angry Conservative leader of Somerset County Council, Cllr John Osman, says the MP's comments are "sadly typical, misinformed and blatantly playing party politics."

He added: "An extensive consultation exercise has already been undertaken asking users of the children's centres their views. We have decided to go further and launch specific consultations in each children's centre."

Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Frances Nicholson, added: "Tessa Munt MP fails to understand that we have proposed to put £1million more into frontline services and employ 30 new members of staff."

"We will do this by reducing spending on bureaucracy and building costs. Spending money on services rather than bureaucracy is surely something we can all agree upon."

A final decision on the future of childrens centres has been put on hold.

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