Parents determined not to give up the fight against major cuts at a school for the disabled have launched a petition.
Subsidies for places on “vital” after school clubs and half term play schemes at Mapledown School, in Cricklewood, have been slashed by £45,000.
Hard-up families who now face paying hundreds of pounds a week to keep their children on the programmes have started a petition urging Barnet Borough Council to reinstate the services.
The news comes in the same year the authority opted to lower its council tax income by £1.3million – making an annual saving of just £7.40 for residents on the lowest council tax band.
Mother Kristine Canavan, whose son Liam goes to the school, has been collecting signatures supporting the parents campaign.
An online petition set up with the help of the Barnet Labour Group last night has also gathered almost 50 signatures.
It says: “A cut of £45,000 to Mapledown – a tiny fraction of the council’s budget - will have a devastating effect on the students and their families who will have to find alternative provision in private sector at a cost of £105 per day.
“If families cannot afford this, they will have to go without. It has been shown that this money and funding for other services which have been affected could be found in the council budget.”
Many of the children at the school have severe mental and physical difficulties, but the services provide respite for carers and parents by allowing them to work.
Sarah Sackman, Labour parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, said: “I am supporting this campaign very strongly.
“The petition has concrete aims. We want the council to look again at the cuts it has made to its budget and reverse them.
“Secondly, we want to draw attention to the impact the public sector cuts are having on our community and the most vulnerable members. They need to look at the bigger picture.”
Council leader Cllr Richard Cornelius previously told the Times Series the cuts to the school’s budget came directly from the Government.
He said: “It is not us that has cut the funding and if we were to cover all the cuts from central government we would be looking at doubling council tax.
“It is about striking a balance between spending and taxing. This country is groaning under the level of tax at the moment.”
To sign the petition, click here.