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Criticism Over Decision To Scrap York's Toy Library Bus


2:12pm 29th March 2013

A decision to scrap the toy library bus in York has been criticised by opposition councillors.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children, Education and Young People, commented:

“The Toy Bus is a popular and valuable facility for families and childcare providers in York. It provides children with a range of toys which aid educational and creative development, and it helps parents and carers cope with the turnover of toys youngsters get through.

"The decision was taken by Labour without properly consulting users, considering all the options, or outlining what plans they had to replace the Toy Bus. Until recently the timetable was not clear and concerned parents have contacted Liberal Democrat Councillors asking for clarification and saying that they have been kept in the dark about when the Toy Library will stop and what, if anything, will replace it.

"In a Budget where Labour found nearly £1millIion to give the Cabinet Leader for a 'Slush Fund' it was a travesty they could not find £69,000 to provide this resource for babies and toddlers. Our budget amendment protected the Toy Library, but was voted down by Labour. They now have one last chance to listen to the concerns raised by residents and reverse this cut before it is too late. The expertise of the staff on the bus and the goodwill they have in our communities will be very difficult and expensive to replace once they are lost."

But Labour cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People, Coun. Janet Looker said:

“Both the toy bus and the stock of toys that it carried were coming to the end of their useful lives, and the bus would’ve taken significant sums of money to replace, money that sadly we no longer have as we respond to cuts from the Government of around one third.

“So we have taken the decision to have a review of the way in which we provide this service, which does not necessarily mean that toys won’t be available again in the future, and any service could be delivered in a different way to a mobile toy bus.  The retention of our children’s centres shows the value we place on services for vulnerable families”.

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