CONTROVERSIAL changes to children’s centres were voted through last night despite trade union opposition.
A shop steward was heckled by a senior councillor and had his microphone cut off during a debate about the plan at Huddersfield Town Hall yesterday.
Kirklees Council’s Labour cabinet unanimously backed the plan to cut £725,000 from the budget for the 32 Sure Starts next year.
However, an earlier proposal to mothball more than half the children’s centres in the district was abandoned after opposition from parents and staff.
Kirklees officials initially proposed saving money by running down services at 17 “associate” Sure Starts in richer parts of the district, forcing parents to travel to so-called “lead” centres for some types of support.
But the proposal was abandoned after 1,300 people took part in a consultation on the plan late last year.
Instead, Kirklees will continue to offer full services at all 32 centres – but management numbers will still be cut.
Cabinet member for children Clr Cath Harris spoke in favour of the new plan at yesterday’s meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.
“There’s no doubt that we have to make significant savings,” said the Ashbrow Labour woman.