THE council’s cabinet member for children’s services has signed a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking for extra funding to pay for children’s social care in the region.

The letter, which was sent to Philip Hammond this week, and signed by Cllr Nicole Meardon, states that more money is needed to fill a widening hole in the North West’s children’s services budgets.

It was written by Barry Kushner, Liverpool City Council, on behalf of the North West Portfolio Holders for Children’s Services Network.

The North West has the greatest number of children in care in England, with 13,000 looked after children.

Cllr Meardon said: “Whilst we are rated as one of the best children’s services in the country, we are facing an unprecedented demand on our children’s social care budget.

“Sadly, cases of trafficking, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and chronic neglect are increasing at a national level. We are also seeing a higher number of sibling groups coming into care and many of our current foster carers are unable to home them. This is resulting in an increased demand for our services, creating financial pressures for our budget, which, if we didn’t take action, would threaten the quality of care we provide.

“Adequate funding is needed to provide social care for an increasing number of children in the North West needing care. We have reached a 20 year high in the number of looked after children and we are urging the Chancellor to find the funding to keep them safe and give them the best opportunity in life.”