A CHILDREN'S Services boss has expressed concern the government has rejected an appeal for more cash to look after vulnerable young people.

Blackburn with Darwen's Cllr Maureen Bateson joined 19 of her North West council counterparts in signing a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond warning they need more money to tackle a ‘growing crisis’ in the sector.

The cross-party group, which included Conservative-controlled Lancashire County Cabinet member of young people Cllr Susie Charles, says there are more than 13,000 ‘looked after children’ in the region, a 20-year high and the greatest number of youngsters in care of any region in England.

There is a rise of 12 per cent since 2013 and a £45million increase in spending on residential placements across the region this year.

Mr Hammond referred the letter of education minister Nadhim Zahawi who said that in 2015 the government had given council's an extra £200milion for core functions, including children's services, a 1.7 per cent increase in cash terms.

He said the government wanted to see 'the children's care sector innovate and redesign service delivery to achieve higher quality and better value for money'.

Children and families minister Mr Zahawi said the government was investing in this improvement and innovation agenda.

Cllr Bateson told Blackburn with Darwen's Executive Board on Thursday said: “This response is disappointing.

It does not address the growing crisis in children's care in the North-West.

"Council's including this one, are already sharing best practice."