CHILDREN with special educational needs, parents, carers and councillors marched through Widnes as part of a national day of campaigning against government cuts to SEN funding.

Marches were organised all over the country as part of the SEND National Crisis campaign, which is calling on the government to bridge the estimated £1.2 billion shortfall in high needs funding in England, with a petition also being delivered to Downing Street.

The march through Widnes, which took place on Thursday, was organised by Amy Hannah of Halton campaign group Justice4Sen and attracted supporters from across the borough as well as Cheshire and Merseyside, with Halton Borough councillors June Roberts (Kingsway) and Pamela Wallace (Riverside) also showing their support.

The March left from ASDA and went through the town centre, finishing at the band stand in Victoria Park.

Amy said: "The country is sadly divided in many ways at the moment, but one thing that unites us all is our love for our children.

"Sadly, years of austerity have left support for children and young people with special educational needs on its knees.

"Even Ofsted have called this a 'national scandal'."

She added: "It was a brilliant turnout and it was great to get support from Cllrs Roberts and Wallace.

"The march was a real show of solidarity with other campaigners up and down the country.

"One thing I was really pleased with was the reception we got in the town centre when we were walking through and handing out leaflets, people were asking what we were marching for and when they found out they were right behind us.

"This really is something which unites us all."

Cllr Roberts said: "It was lovely to meet the families and show our support and solidarity against central government cuts and the effects it is having on our families here in Halton."

Cllr Wallace added: "I have been supporting families within the Riverside Ward and have got to know just what they are going through thanks to the cuts imposed to Halton and councils in the North West from central government and the Conservative party.

"North West group of LAs (local authorities) have lobbied government for additional funding, which was submitted in writing with evidence to the select committee who are now looking at it.

"Halton spend all our high needs money on pupils with SEND and for several years now spend as been beyond budget.

"The government may say money has gone into this area, it does not actually meet the cost, and rising costs as numbers increase."