Frome Town Council will respond formally to the proposed cuts but Kate Bielby, Leader of the Council, has issued an open letter to Somerset County Council below.
Open Letter to Somerset County Council
In the last five years, Somerset County Council has made ever-deeper cuts to vital family, youth and children’s services. We know from our community partners that more children in Frome are coming to school hungry and are experiencing poor mental and physical ill health, doctors are reporting record numbers of appointments and Fair Frome’s food bank has seen an unprecedented number of individuals and families request food parcels. Other voluntary organisations in the town are reporting a significant increase in demand for their services.
In its cuts to the GetSet service, some of which have already taken effect, Somerset County Council is proposing to remove precisely those services that enable children and families to avoid the need for expensive and extreme options such as residential care or adoption.
While we appreciate huge reductions in central government grants to local authorities mean the County Council must make difficult budgetary decisions, removing cheaper preventative services will simply push up the cost of crisis intervention by the police, health and social services. The most vulnerable people in our town will be left without the help they need and yet the costs to the taxpayers of Frome will be far greater.
The County is also proposing cuts to the youth service, the Citizens Advice service and the gritting of roads. If ever more limited cash is spent on dealing with crises there will be little left for services used by everyone such as waste collection, road maintenance and even education. Initially, the proposed cuts will affect the most vulnerable but poor decisions made now will inevitably affect us all.
Frome Town Council, as a small council in a large county, urges Somerset County Council not to make these savage cuts that simply make no social or economic sense.
Cllr Kate Bielby
Leader of Frome Town CouncilThere is still time to take part in Somerset County Council’s consultation about potential changes to the getset service for children and their families.
You can find details of the proposals and complete the questionnaire online by 31 December here: https://tinyurl.com/y9nwg7qa