A SCHOOL governor and councillor from Andover has expressed his ‘extreme disappointment’ about plans which could see more than £20 million slashed from the children’s services budget in Hampshire.

Hampshire County Council has proposed to slash its budget across the board by more than £20m in a bid to save £80m by April 2023.

It has been proposed by Hampshire County Council that £21.3m is taken from the budget for children’s services, which will see £7.7m cut from children’s social care, £336,000 from education and community services and £2.5m cut from the home-to-school transport pot, with plans to review how the service is provided and develop direct relationships between schools and operators.

Reacting to the news, Councillor Luigi Gregori from Andover Town Council, who was elected in February last year and has lived in and around Andover for more than 20 years, said that although cuts are expected he is “extremely disappointed” with the choice of cuts, which will have an effect on many children.

He said: “I am very disappointed, but I think that it’s just going to be the thrust of many cuts that Hampshire County Council are going to be doing.

“The problem is that they are not getting enough funding from the government and the funding has been cut down, but they are asking them to do more and more things, which puts them under a significant amount of pressure.”

Cllr Gregori, who is also a school governor for a special needs school said he is irritated by the proposed cuts but understands that children’s care is very expensive.

He added: “This is the same council who not so long ago prided themselves in having one of the lowest tax rates in the country.

“I am a bit more than frustrated. I am school governor, so I see the implications of the cuts and what’s interesting is that a lot of children act as carers for their parents, it is quite staggering.

“Are these guys getting a fair deal from the community, the answer is obviously not.”

In the report, a further £178,000 will be slashed from the Youth Offending Team budget, with staffing levels being reduced.

Like many, Cllr Gregori agreed that the Government must take some responsibility for the cuts.

He added: “If you look at social care, the actual cost of delivering it is increasing at a much greater rate than inflation and it is going to continue to increase even more.”

The proposals won’t go ahead until both the cabinet and full council approve the plans.

Will you be affected by the proposed cuts to child services? If you would like to speak to a reporter in confidence, please email jemma.cullum@andoveradvertiser.co.uk.