St Helens Conservatives leader says no deal Brexit would help fund children's services

The leader of the St Helens Conservatives has called for a no deal Brexit
The leader of the St Helens Conservatives has called for a no deal Brexit
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The leader of the St Helens Conservatives has called for a no deal Brexit, insisting it would help fund children’s and adult services.

Coun Allan Jones said the government should leave the EU without a deal after “exhausting all possible alternatives on Brexit”.

The comments came during a meeting of St Helens Council’s overview and scrutiny commission on Monday.

While discussing the council’s 2018-19 budget, Labour’s David Baines said children’s services across the country are reaching “crisis point”.

Coun Baines said: “These are vulnerable children we are talking about and the children’s services they rely on to look after them to protect them are being starved of money, of funding resources they need, and that’s a choice by the government.

“And that is a fact, I’m not being party-political when I say that, it is a choice that this government are making to chronically underfund local government and in-turn, chronically underfund children’s services.”

Children’s services in St Helens is currently going through an overhaul following a damning Ofsted focused visit last summer.

At present, there are 485 looked-after children within the care of the local authority.

Coun Baines, chairman of the overview and scrutiny commission, pleaded with the government to provide local authorities more cash for vital services.

The Windle councillor said: “When you keep in mind this is vulnerable children we are talking about, it’s adult social care, it’s these important things.

“It’s not just bins or potholes, these are people’s lives we are talking about.

“It is really, really worrying and I would, on behalf of scrutiny, on behalf of the commission, I would urge whoever’s listening in government, if anybody is, please look at the impact your cuts are having and give local government the resources it needs.”

Labour’s John Wiseman said it was “logical” that children would “suffer” if the government does not provide adequate levels of funding.

“It’s just common sense without even being party-political over it,” Coun Wiseman said.

“If you cut money, people suffer – and we’ve suffered too much in this town.”

In response, Coun Jones said: “I’ve heard all that and I’ve heard it time and time and time again. I’ve heard it till I’m sick up to here with it.

“However, there is one way we could get more money for the health service and for children’s social services and adult social services and that is to now, after exhausting all possible alternatives on Brexit, is to come out of Europe without a deal.”

Hitting back, Coun Baines warned that a no deal Brexit poses too much risk to the UK’s economy and job market.

Coun Baines said: “Even if it means one person loses their job, that’s one household without a bread winner that’s one household where kids are growing up without a parent in work, which your party loves to bang on about, and I don’t think it’s worth that risk.

“I’d rather keep a maroon passport and have people in work if that’s alright.”