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December 15, 2021 12:14 PM
Originally published by Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats

County Councillor Mark Watkin, Lib Dem spokesperson for Children's Services, has raised concerns about the Government's £3 million under funding of Herts County's high needs services for children with special needs.

Cllr Watkin said, "Hertfordshire receives the 4th lowest funding based on its population of any of the 160 English local authorities. Compared to the average local authority, this means each year it receives £3million less to fund its crucially needed SEND services including its special schools, its advisory services, its school-based special resources and funding for children to receive specialist support.

I had wanted the Council to agree, cross-party, on Tuesday to write to the Secretary of State as a matter of urgency to seek fairness in the way the County is funded. Far too many children are denied the chance to receive the specialist education they desperately need and families struggle with inadequate support because of lack of funds.

The need is urgent."

Due to the fast-developing Omicron crisis, Hertfordshire County Council agreed to have a quorum only meeting dealing with essential statutory business and to refer Cllr Watkin's motion for a full debate at the Children's Services Cabinet Panel on 8th February.

In the meantime, Cllr Watkin has written to the Executive Member for Children's Services, Cllr Heritage, and the Leader of the County Council, Cllr Roberts, asking them, notwithstanding a debate in February, to write now to the government minister highlighting the shortfall in funding and the issues it causes.