County Hall

Kent Social Care cut by £19m

Adult Social Care funding in Kent is to be cut by nearly £19 million - a 5.3% reduction on current spending.

tape measure school

School place is out of reach

An 11 year old boy from Kent has missed out on his first choice of school after he was told he lives too far away - by 12 inches.

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Could East Kent become the next 'silicon city'?

East Kent may have been taking a battering from the weather, but it could have a bright future in the high-tech industry. Business leaders have been meeting in London to discuss the potential.

They say the area has a skilled workforce, low start-up costs and good transport links - so could it become the next "silicon city"? Andy Dickenson reports.

Council to save £7m by limiting free student bus passes

Kent
Kent Freedom Pass Credit: Kent County Council

Kent County Council has said that it will save around £7m by capping free bus travel for thousands of students.

The move, which will cost many families hundreds of pounds, will limit the journeys taken by 11 to 16 year olds to £350 worth of travel. For older students, passes will be capped at £250.

The Kent Freedom Pass was launched in 2006 and costs the council around £13.5m every year.

Opposition councillors have said that some students with long journeys to school and college will be penalised by the changes.

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Mixed reception for SureStart changes

Campaigners admit their fight to keep children's centres open across Kent has had only limited success. The county council say cuts in Government grants mean it's not possible to keep all 97 centres running. 12 centres stretching from Westerham to Deal will shut for good.

Nineteen centres WILL stay open but with reduced opening times. The Conservatives at KCC say they had no alternative. Labour politicians have denounced the decision as shameful. Ruje Yasmin reports, talking to campaigner Hannah Arnold, Labour candidate Tristan Osborne, and Whitstable mums.

12 children's centres in Kent are to close

Larkfield Children's Centre is closing Credit: ITV News Meridian

12 children's centres in Kent are to shut: the county council blames cuts in government funding. However 11 of 23 centres which were threatened with closure will remain open. It comes after the County Council consulted with thousands of parents.

One of the children's centres that is to close Credit: ITV News Meridian

The authority says it's come up with new ways of running them to save money and bring in some income. The centres offer help and advice to parents.

Half of threatened children's centres to close

Twelve of the twenty three children's centres in Kent which were threatened with closure will shut.

The remaining eleven centres will remain open. The announcement follows a three-month consultation in which 6,000 people took part. Kent County council says it has come up with new ways of running the surviving centres which will enable the authority to save money and bring in some income.

“We had an overwhelming response to our proposal and I would like to thank all the parents who took the time to tell us their views. They came up with some fantastic suggestions about how we could make savings and generate income with ideas such as hiring out the buildings after-hours.

“I have listened to parents and seen first-hand the impact these Centres have and, where they are vital to the community, we have found ways to keep them open. This consultation has never been about reducing services and these will continue to be delivered in alternative buildings in areas where a Centre closes. I am confident that these changes will result in high-quality, effective Children’s Centres to support the children and families of Kent into the future.”

– Jenny Whittle, Cabinet member for specialist children’s services, Kent County Council

Plans to close children's centres in Kent are 'not a done deal'

Kent County Council has to save two hundred and forty million pounds. It says cuts by central Government leave it no choice. Today councillors met in Maidstone to consider areas where cutbacks could be made.

But as Andrea Thomas reports, any choice they make will be unpopular with some taxpayers. And noisy demonstrators fighting plans to close children's centres were there to make their voices heard.

She spoke to some of those demonstrators and Jenny Whittle, cabinet member for children's services at Kent County Council.

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Children centres planned closures causes protests

Save Kent Children Centres Campaign has begun today, with protesters staging a demonstration after Kent County Council announced that 23 children centres may have to close.

The following Children Centres are earmarked for closure:

  • Ashford- Cherry Blossom and Squirrel Lodge
  • Canterbury- Apple Tree, Briary, Little Bees, Swalecliffe and Tina Rintoul
  • Dartford- Maypole
  • Dover- The Buttercup, The Daisy and Primrose
  • Gravesham- Daisy Chains and Little Painters
  • Maidstone- Loose and Marden
  • Sevenoaks- Dunton Green and Merry-Go Round
  • Shepway- New Romney, The Village or Folkestone Early Years
  • Swale- St Mary's and Woodgrove
  • West Kent- Hadlow/East Peckham, Larkfield and Pembury

Council to cut almost a quarter of a billion pounds from its budget

by Iain McBride

Kent County Council is to cut almost a quarter of a billion pounds from its spending budget. Unions have raised concerns that the move could cost up to 1,500 jobs.

The council leader, Councillor Paul Carter, admits the level of savings needed to balance the local authority's budget is "eye watering", but he has pledged to protect frontline services. Iain McBride reports.

The interviewees are: Councillor Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council (Conservative); Councillor Roger Latchford, Kent County Council (UKIP); David Lloyd from the Unison union.

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