1 March 2023

RCSLT Scotland and its members in Edinburgh have run a successful campaign to protect funding for integrated services in Scotland’s capital

The initial cost saving proposal put before councillors in November 2022 recommended a cut of £850,000 in funding – essentially the entire budget for children’s speech and language therapy in Edinburgh. RCSLT Scotland wrote to the council’s Director for Education and attracted media coverage of the issue, while NHS Lothian speech and language therapists wrote to, and engaged with, their local councillors. Due to the political pressure created by our campaign, the proposed cut was reduced to £350,000 in the week leading up to the budget decision and, at the last minute, the cut was scrapped entirely.

Glenn Carter, Head of RCSLT Scotland, said: “This is a fantastic result for our members in Edinburgh and, most importantly, the children they serve. We have said since this proposal was put on the table that these are the wrong cuts at the wrong time.”

“Since the start of the pandemic, teachers are reporting alarming numbers of children coming to school with minimal spoken language.  Almost 90% of Early Years Practitioners report that they have seen an increase in the numbers and complexity of children with communication needs in Scotland. Public Health Scotland research shows a very significant increase in need as reported from health visitors.”

“We are pleased that Edinburgh councillors have seen how damaging cuts to this service would be to children’s attainment and future life outcomes. This is reflected in the fact that we secured support from all political parties on the council to protect funding for speech and language therapy.”

“RCSLT Scotland will continue to support our members in children’s services across Scotland to help them advocate for their services and the vital role they play in education. Hopefully this successful campaign will demonstrate to other local authorities that speech and language therapy is not a ‘nice to have’ but an essential service that must be protected.”