Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Hutt hurts figures in Newport

A city council has been rapped over the knuckles by the Assembly Government – for supporting too many deprived children.

Newport Council has been told that instead of helping 1,607 children from poorer parts of the city, it must spend more per child but help only 1,122 of them.

Education Minister Jane Hutt has ordered the city council to spend £2,100 on each child in the scheme rather than following its current policy of reducing the sum to £1,600 so it can help more children.

Flying Start provides support for children aged up to three and includes part-time childcare, extra levels of involvement from health visitors, parenting programmes and help with basic skills.

Newport City Council deputy leader Ed Townsend said: “This is a pilot scheme funded until 2011 so far and one of the purposes of a pilot is to test the systems to make sure they work.

“In Newport, we are making the systems work very well indeed and we want to help as many families as possible.

“We do not want to cut families out of Flying Start just because civil servants want the numbers to look the same all over Wales. Flying Start is an excellent scheme, welcomed by health and childcare professionals.

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