Council change of heart saves respite scheme for special needs children in Milton Keynes

MK Council offices
MK Council offices

Milton Keynes Council’s Short Breaks voucher scheme to give respite to all families of disabled children has been saved from the axe in a last minute change of heart.

Councillor Zoe Nolan, Cabinet member responsible for Children and Families, decided to scrap the current scheme from 2020 under her delegated decision powers in a bid to save cash.

Ms Nolan decreed that only children who are entitled to free school meals should be entitled to free breaks in the meantime.

But 20 residents who use the voucher system called in the decision in protest.

This week Ms Nolan’s delegated decision was re-examined by councillors and it was agreed the Short Breaks system should continue.

Any future changes will allow for sufficient time to fully consult with families.

The Short Breaks vouchers are available for all families with children with special educational needs statements. Scrapping the scheme would have saved Milton Keynes Council £165,000 a year.

Some 1,720 families in MK are eligible for the vouchers. Just under half of them applied for them last year.