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Cash-strapped councils have warned that inflation, staffing shortages and construction delays risk undermining a cost-cutting drive that is a key plank of major new SEND reforms.

Fourteen councils have been given “safety valve” bailouts totalling nearly £100 million to plug financial blackholes in their high-need budgets.

In exchange, they must agree sweeping reforms to make their special educational needs and disability provision “sustainable”, and report back to the government on their progress.

Reports from seven councils, obtained under freedom of information laws, show several warning that they might fail to meet their bailout conditions. At least one recently predicted it would also miss deficit-cutting targets.

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