Scottish councils have been unable to account for how £34m of funding for disabled children and their families was spent, a charity has claimed.
The results of a freedom of information request from the coalition charity, for Scotland’s Disabled Children (fSDC) found that while some councils believed the money had been dissolved into other budget pressures, others were unable to account for the spending at all.
The funding was given to councils as part of the 2007 UK government funding package for disabled children, but the Scottish government did not ring-fence the grant.
“The government says the money went to local authorities, yet they either cannot or will not tell us how they have spent it, or indeed if any of it was ever spent on disabled children and young people,” said Alex Cole-Hamilton, head of policy at Scottish children’s charity Aberlour. “The money has simply disappeared into council coffers.”
Cole-Hamilton said that while the £34m could have made a “real difference” in increasing and improving short break provision, Scottish government data indicates that provision for disabled children and young people actually fell by 1,120 weeks between 2008 and 2009.
A spokesperson from fSDC told Community Care: “At first, we expected the break-down of figures to amount to relatively insignificant sums within each council. We were shocked to find that wasn’t the case. Glasgow city council has gained over £1m from this and hasn’t accounted for where that money was spent.”
Scotland’s 32 councils have received two of the three funding payments aimed at helping disabled children. fSDC has asked councils to promise the third round of funding to disabled children’s services. So far, only Highland council has agreed.