New research un-covers Sure Start funding cuts

Sure Start: Labour List

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney and Shadow Minister for Health, has urged the government to act instantly to protect the Sure Start Children’s Centres.

Research by the Labour Party has un-covered massive cuts in pre-school provision across the country.

Among the East London Line boroughs, Lewisham has the highest reductions of Sure Start Centres with 10.1%, Tower Hamlets has 9.8%, Croydon down 8.2% and Hackney, with 8.1% reductions, have cut the lowest.

However, the cuts in the eastern boroughs are nothing compared to Kensington and Chelsea (Central London) with 15% and Bury (North West of England) with 17% of reductions.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information requests to local authorities show that 83% of councils are being forced to cut budgets this year due to deep cuts on the funding from central government, and 89% will do so next year.

A minimum of 47 Sure Start Centres across England have closed or are allocated for closure by April 2012.

Figures show that more than a third of the councils have to dismiss highly qualified staff, including teachers, as they battle to make ends meet due to the harsh budget cuts from the central government.

Diane Abbott MP has written to David Cameron to demand that he lives up to his pre-election commitment to protect and build on Sure Start, and take action now to ensure that no more centres close and no more services are lost.

She said: “David Cameron has no idea what it’s like for local families who are getting hit from all angles by his government – jobs are under threat, household budgets are being squeezed, and vital services are being lost and watered down.”

“Sure Start Children’s Centres are a vital part of the community, where parents and carers can access quality childcare and early learning activities, as well as many other services, which support them in bringing
up their child.”

“We really need this government to see sense and make sure that these services are not lost, as he promised he would before the election.”

Labour’s Shadow Children and Families Minister Sharon Hodgson MP said: “David Cameron’s pledge to parents to protect and build on Sure Start has been well and truly broken. Sure Start Centres are closing as a direct result of Tory cuts which go too far, too fast.”

“But even these figures don’t tell the whole story that parents are seeing on the ground: of the services withdrawn from Centres, opening hours cut and trusted staff sacked.”

“David Cameron’s Tories are out of touch and out of date.”

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