A BURNHAM and Highbridge councillor has warned of the devastating knock-on effects savage £17million cuts could have on the area.

Somerset County Council is considering slashing £17million from the Children and Young People's Directorate budget over the next three years.

That revelation was made by directorate boss Bob Clark in an e-mail to staff, in which he also said the budget for “partnership services” could be slashed from £12million to just £3million.

Local LibDem councillor Joe Leach said: “The Children and Young People's Directorate is an area I have done a lot of work in and I've seen the influence and results from the funding.

“The directorate covers a huge area in terms of integrating young people into society and providing invaluable support in deprived areas such as Highbridge.

“These cuts could mean more children, particularly vulnerable ones, would be without this support.

“This could have a knock-on effect on the taxpayer, and in places like Highbridge, where there are a lot of youth clubs, there could be job losses.”

The Sedgemoor Labour Group, which posted the e-mail on its website, says cuts could also affect school truancy workers, emotional health workers, careers advisers, and parent and family support advisers.

Somerset County Council said it would not comment on the contents of the e-mail, but in a statement, Mr Clark said no decisions would be taken until after the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review in October.

He said: “Somerset County Council is facing tough times and I wanted to let staff and stakeholders know that discussions are taking place on what the future may hold for all of us.”