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Sharma Raps Closure of Sure Start Centres

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Virendra Sharma promoting science at an event in Parliament

Ealing and Southall have lost 21 of 28 Sure Start children’s centres since 2010….reports Asian Lite News

Virendra Sharma promoting science at an event in Parliament

Mr Virendra Sharma, MP from Ealing and Southall, accused the ruling Conservative party of ignoring the plight of working families.

The Conservative Party famously pledged to be the “most family friendly Government we’ve ever had” before the 2010 election. As part of this claim they said they would protect Sure Start, the transformative early years programme introduced by Labour to give young children the best start in life. But new research, based on Freedom of Information requests to councils, reveals the Tories have broken their promise. It shows:

  • There are now over 1,240 fewer designated Sure Start children’s centres than when the Tories took office – a fall of around 34 per cent since 2010.
  • Over 230 have been lost in the last year alone.
  • The North East and London have seen the biggest fall in numbers, with over 40 per cent of Sure Start Centres lost.
  • Two local authorities, Swindon and Solihull, reported that they have no designated Children’s Centres in their areas left.

 

Virendra Sharma MP, Ealing, Southall, said:

“One of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government was its creation of the Sure Start programme. When we left office there were over 3,600 Children’s Centres, reaching 2.8 million children and their families.

“It gave families the best start in life, provided parenting support, childcare for children and job training for adults as well as health care and advice.

“The Tories have taken that away from my constituency. While we used to have 28 Sure Start children’s centres, we now only have seven in the whole of Ealing. It beggars belief that they can row back so blatantly on their promise to be family friendly.”

 

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the closures, said:

“The Tories claim they’re protecting Sure Start, but they’re not. They use tricky accounting methods – like pointing to buildings which are still open but which are running much reduced services – to try to pull the wool over people’s eyes. But the facts speak for themselves. On the same measure that was used in 2010, Sure Start has been slashed.

“There are a third fewer designated centres than there were when the Tories came to office. We know that because we asked local authorities, those tasked with running these vital services, and that’s what they told us.

“The Tories are taking us backwards. It’s a scandal that parents and children are paying the price.”