Cuts to the children's services budget could lead to the Hammersmith having its own Baby P scandal, councillors have warned.
A £900,000 reduction was voted in by Hammersmith and Fulham Tory councillors this week, despite calls from the opposition to re-consider in the wake of December's scandal, where Haringey Council was publicly condemned for failing to spot the neglect of a 17-month old boy.
Councillor Reg McLaughlin lambasted the administration on Wednesday's (26) budget meeting for proposing the cuts when other councils are doing the opposite.
He said: "Other councils are increasing their budgets and increasing their numbers of foster carers and you are doing the exact opposite.
"If a single thing happens in this borough anything like happened to Baby P, I will sue this council for every penny they have got."
His colleague councillor Lisa Nandy, described the cut as an "attack on people in our care."
The Labour group put forward an amendment to the budget, that the decision be reversed and funded by back office efficiencies.
But the amendment was rejected and the council said it had actually increased its spending in some areas.
A council spokesman said: "Protection has been made possible after efficiencies were made in other areas. At the same time the agreed budget includes growth items for vulnerable children. We have made some savings in the department over the past three years but these have mainly come from our successful strategy of reducing the number of children in care. We have improved
preventative services which means that fewer children, mainly in the older age groups, need to come into care. We have also spent money in enabling more children to be adopted, and more children being cared for by relatives under legal arrangements such as special guardianship."
The council agreed to appoint an independent chairperson for the children's safeguarding board after agreeing it was dangerous and inappropriate for the post to be held by the chief officer for children's services.
The number of referred children in the borough has reduced from 321 in 2006 to 256 in 2008.
The administration was further attacked for failing to produce a briefing on the state of its children's services at the request of Labour councillors immediately after the Baby P tragedy.
All councils will now undergo a thorough review in the wake of the scandal.