- Published on 30 March 2023
A fight against proposals for the City of Edinburgh Council to cut almost its entire budget for children's speech and language therapy - €850,000 - has been successful in convincing councilors to scrap the cut.
Prior to a crucial late-February Council meeting, documents showed that speech and language therapy could lose £3.4 million over the next four years as part of a plan to plug a £76 million hole in the Edinburgh's city finances.
The impact this could have on the vulnerable was spotted by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), and a campaign of letters was launched, with the RCSLT writing to Edinburgh's Director of Education, and NHS speech therapists sending letters to councillors.
"This Is a fantastic result for our members in Edinburgh and, most importantly, the children they serve. We have said since this proposal was put on the table that these are the wrong cuts at the wrong time," sald Glenn Carter, Head of RCSLT Scotland.
Before the Council's u-turn, Carter had led the pushback against the proposed funding cut, arguing that local authorities needed to "urgently address the spoken language crisis in Scotland, not make it worse." The risks of slashing the budget, said the RCSLT, would be poorer attainment for children, a deepening of poverty and inequality, poorer well-being and mental health for children, and an undermining of the human rights of children withcommunication needs within education settings.
The RCSLT was receiving reports from teachers that since the start of the pandemic, alarming numbers of children were coming to school with minimal spoken language. "We are pleased that Edinburgh councillors have seen how damaging cuts to this service would be to children's attainment and future life outcomes" said Carter.