SNP and Labour Councillors force childcare closure stay of execution

Sean Morton – stay of execution.

The prospect of parents having to give up their jobs has led to a Moray childcare service being saved from closure – for now.

Funding for the Forres Out of School Club was withdrawn as part of Moray Council’s cost saving measures with the facility reported to be operating at an annual loss of around £16,000.

However, at a meeting of the children and young people’s services committee local SNP Councillor Aaron McLean argued for a change of mind when it became clear that withdrawing support would likely lead to closure – and some parents having to give up or cut back on their jobs if the cuts went ahead.

The Forres councillor was supported by the Labour councillor for Fochabers, Sean Morton, who has consistently argued for the retaining financial support “because working families depend on it”.

One of the parents that would have been affected was RAF Lossiemouth Sergeant Jane Burns and her husband Rob, who works offshore.

Mr Burns said: “I’m glad that at least some councillors seemed to be listening – it is ordinary working people who vote the councillors in, and it’s the council’s job to help the local community.”

Councillor McLean put forward a motion to keep the club open, saying; “We want this to be looked at again – we are going to try now to persuade our fellow councillors that this is a service that should not be cut.”

Supporting the motion, Councillor Morton added: “I have consistently fought to keep this club open because there are working families who depend on it.

“An assessment was carried out regarding the effects of the closure and it had failed to show there were alternative affordable facilities for some families.

“It may, however, prove to be a stay of execution as there are some councillors who seem determined to see it close.”

The matter will now go to another committee with a spokesman saying: “As no budget exists to keep the facility open the matter will now have to be reported to the policy and resources committee, where any proposals to fund the continued operation of the club will be discussed.”

The rising costs of childcare was highlighted nationally this week when it was revealed that costs for a two-child family had risen to the point where it was more expensive than the average mortgage.

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