A public meeting has been organised to discuss council cuts which critics say will increase inequality and abandon children to poverty.

Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett will talk about Essex County Council’s plans to slash the number of childcare centres in Essex.

Under the proposed reforms, the council would save £2.5million by closing 11 centres, including Little Buddies in Buckhurst Hill, and cutting the hours of 37 others.

Others affected in Epping Forest would be Abbeywood Children’s Centre in Waltham Abbey Library, Little Oaks Children’s Centre in Loughton, and Little Star Children’s Centre at Shelly Primary School in Ongar.

Ms Bennet called the cuts a ‘false economy’.

She said: 'This is where the Government’s austerity programme really bites.

“Here in Essex, and across the UK, councils are being forced by government to slash services which offer our children the vital support they need and deserve.

“Children’s charities and organisations dedicated to the fight against poverty are agreed that the closure of each children’s centre will increase inequality and risk abandoning children to poverty.

“There will be social and health impacts down the line which other agencies, such as the NHS, will then have to deal with.'

The public meeting will take place at St James United Reformed Church in Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill, at 8pm next Tuesday.

Essex County Council has been asked for a response to Ms Bennet’s criticisms.