FOURTEEN families are being chased by Brent Council over unpaid children’s centre fees totalling more than £35,000.
The authority said calling in the debt collectors was the last resort to claw back three years of outstanding payments at Harmony Children’s Centre, in Bridge Road, Neasden.
Fernando Ruz, from Brent Citizens Advice Bureau, said: "Children’s centres were set up to give children from low-income families a good start in life and in their education,
and ironically they are now being chased by the council. The council has to be careful not to push these people further into poverty."
Five families are paying off their arrears and the council hopes the remaining 10 will enter into a similar arrangement.
A council spokeswoman said: "This action was taken as a last resort. All of the families received tax credits towards the cost of childcare and Harmony’s fees are affordable
compared to similar private nurseries."
The centre, which is run by the council, won praise from inspectors and scored high marks in its Ofsted report in 2009.