Nursery fee rise reconsidered after Redbridge council gaffe

A controversial decision to increase the cost of nursery care in Redbridge will be reconsidered after an equality gaffe by officers.

It emerged at a full meeting of council members meeting yesterday that bungling officers forgot to attach the an Equality Impact Assessment to a report circulated to councillors who voted through the above-inflation increase at the budget meeting on March 3.

Prompted by an objection from Labour Cllr Elaine Norman at the Town Hall meeting, Cllr Weinberg admitted that although an Impact Assessment had been carried out, as the council is obliged to do by law, it was nott considered by councillors.

Cllr Weinberg, portfolio holder for children, said: “Officers made a mistake and they didn’t attach the report. The most senior officer today made an apology to the cabinet.

“The report will now go to back cabinet members who will check that it is 100 per cent accurate before they make a decision.”

Under the plans, Loxford, Hainault, Mildmay and Redbridge College nurseries, currently subsidised by council funds, will charge parents around �7 per day more.

Cllr Norman, of Newbury Ward said: “This increase is way above inflation and will place a burden on families which are already being squeezed.

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A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: “All of the council-run nurseries have previously been financially supported by the council. However due to cuts to our grant we are unable to continue to subsidise them at the current level and they will need to become self supporting.”

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