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Local Government Finance: Protection of Children

Volume 672: debated on Monday 24 February 2020

20. What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the local government finance settlement for local authorities to deliver their statutory duties for the protection of children. (900881)

This Government have recognised and responded to the pressures that local authorities are facing in delivering their statutory duty to protect children. For 2021, we are delivering an extra £1 billion for child social care and 4.4% into core spending power.

Andy Burnham’s inquiry into the abandonment of Operation Augusta showed a shocking scenario in parts of Manchester where children were being groomed in open sight. It also showed that before Operation Augusta was abandoned, and when the children’s department was working with the police, it was beginning to be effective in stopping that grooming. I simply do not accept the Minister’s answer that there is sufficient money now or that sufficient money will be provided. Ninety per cent. of children’s departments in this country are underfunded, and all the children’s departments in Greater Manchester are underfunded.

Of course, of the additional £1 billion of social care grant, Manchester City Council will have access to an additional £30 million to use on children’s social care in the coming year. As we set out in our manifesto, we are committed to undertaking a review of the care system that will allow us to go even further and to make sure that all care placements and settings provide children and young people with the support they need.

I understand the review also made recommendations about policing, and of course we will be starting to recruit 6,000 police officers in the coming year.