At this week’s executive meeting of IBC, the representatives of users of the crèche service (which Labour propose to close) presented their case and a petition.
The users proposed as a compromise to keep the service running till January 2018 and they would use this extension to work with the council to promote the service more widely.
Conservative Leader Nadia Cenci proposed that the funding for this could either be found from the council’s £500,000 underspend in the current year or from unspent area committee funding. However no Labour councillors were willing to take this idea forward.
Instead the council will meet all regular users to talk about alternative options & advice. They will look at commencing a short term additional exercise class at actual cost to new mothers.
However the Labour council leader says they will attempt to ask Suffolk County Council and the NHS to pay the cost of providing ongoing services in future, especially for mothers who cannot afford to pay.
Nadia Cenci said after the meeting “This apparent half-promise of providing additional exercise classes has a complete lack of substance and detail, and the Leader made it clear that the basic crèche service will close in July as planned. In the event that SCC or the NHS are unable to provide funding, Ipswich Labour will simply blame someone else for closing the service, like they do for ever other difficult decision to be made.”
Cllr Eddy Phillips, Conservative Finance Spokesman, who observed proceedings, says “They are attempting to pass the buck to Suffolk County Council and the local NHS and asking them to pay for a service that IBC has provided at Crown Pools for the last 25 years & at 2 sports centres since 1983. The Leader talked about cost shunting in the public sector, and now he is doing just that. If Labour had listened sensibly to my alternative budget proposals in February, the crèche service at all 3 sites would have been assured for the remainder of the current 4 year budget plan period.”