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Argyll and Bute Council U-turn over ASN budget cuts

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Argyll and Bute Council did an apparent U-turn yesterday at a full council meeting at Kilmory when an administration motion was put forward to ‘remove the option of reducing additional support needs (ASN) assistant support by 45 per cent’ from the budget proposals currently out to public consultation.



The motion was supported by a majority vote of 17 (out of 30 councillors).

Cllr James Robb told the Standard earlier in the week: “I understand there will be a U-turn by the administration on Thursday and that the 45 per cent (£1.37m) cut in ASN will be removed from their list of proposed cuts.

“I hope the Councillor Leader and all his followers will have the decency to apologise to all the families who have been put through all the unnecessary stress and worry of the last few months.

“Congratulations to all the parents who have come together and worked so hard to protect children and force the removal of this unacceptable service cut.”

The Argyll and Bute SNP Council Group had also agreed earlier to vote for the removal of the option.

The group told us: “The SNP Group is critical of the unnecessary angst and anxiety which many people, employees and parents of vulnerable children and their parents have suffered since the publication of the Service Choices Savings Options, before adequate work had been done on the necessary equalities impact assessments and other work discussed in the paper before the Council on Thursday. The Group have listened to the parents.”

Sandy Taylor, Leader of the SNP Council Group, said that “From the earliest discussions it was clear that it was always going to be the case that the statutory requirement to provide additional support where needed to enable any and every child and young person to benefit from education would prevail.”

At the start of the academic year 2015/16 a total of 1,931 pupils (18.4 per cent) in the local authority area had been identified as having additional support needs.

A review group looking into the supply of ASN described the allocation process ‘overly bureaucratic’ and that the current system ‘can hinder flexibility’.

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