Parents petition against after-school club hikes

WORRIED parents have started a petition to stop their children’s before and after school clubs increasing their fees by threefold.

A 50-strong group of mums and dads who use Bethnal Green’s St Matthias CoE Primary School clubs have been told the cost for the breakfast session could increase from 50p per day to �3.49 and the afternoon club from �5 to �10.

The huge hikes are set to come into place once Tower Hamlets Council withdraws all funding for the service at Easter.

The parents’ fears come after a mother slammed the council last week for deciding to pass all costs of after school clubs onto parents.

One Bethnal Green mum is concerned that once the hikes come in she will be far worse off working than staying at home with her son.

Andrea Brown, 38, is shortly due to start her new job as a support worker and she sends seven-year-old Zane to St Matthias’s clubs.

She organised the petition and is now planning on approaching other schools to see if there are more parents in her position.

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She said: “You might as well not work. You’re paying more to keep your child in childcare than you’re earning. People like me are trying to get ahead but we’ve been slapped with these charges.

“I understand it’s got to increase but from �5 to �10 – that’s not in the middle.”

Last month, parents were given details of the new system, which will affect 18 after-school clubs in the borough.

It is thought only eight will be able to continue.

The council put aside �780,000 in last year’s budget to subside the clubs but said it can no longer afford to support them.

More than �70million will be sliced off its budget over the next few years as a result of the austerity cuts.

The council said is has not singled out children’s services and insisted its measures will have a “minimal” impact on families.

A council spokeswoman said: “Cuts from central government are such that we have to protect core services such as our social care services, and are not able to provide this funding.

“There is no subsidy from central government so the clubs have to be run on a full cost recovery basis.”