There has been a lot of misreporting of what really happened about the cuts to the Additional Support Needs (ASN) at Thursday’s council meeting.
As was widely expected, the council’s administration pulled the proposed 45% cut in ASN work from the Service Choices options. But, and this is the big but, they imposed an immediate full year cut of £280,000 on ASN work. In addition, this is not subject to any consultation. Worse, they have imposed this without having completed their review of ASN and they do not know what the impact will be. This £280k cut equates to 21 full time equivalent jobs. This was described as “operational efficiencies”.
The SNP put up a motion proposing the same £280k cut but as part of Service Choices, ie this would be added to the public consultation.
The Reform Group comprising myself and Cllrs Marshall and Dance put up an amendment to remove the 45% cut and to defer any decision on ASN until the review was completed. Our amendment also wanted to see some reasons for what looks like an alarming rise in the number of children with hearing impairments. Cllrs Iain Angus MacDonald and Iain Maclean, both SNP councillors, supported our amendment and good on them for having done so.
Anyway, Cllr Walsh’s administration held the day yet again with not a single one of his troops voting against him. What loyalty they have but then they know that if they defy him, they will be in big trouble, losing their additional pay or by being thrown out of his administration.
It doesn’t get any better, yet.