Scunthorpe’s MP Nic Dakin has written to the Prime Minister to demand immediate action to protect Sure Start Children’s Centres, after research by the Labour Party revealed the extent of cuts and closures.
Figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests to local authorities by Shadow Children and Families Minister Sharon Hodgson MP show that 83% of councils are being forced to slash budgets this year due to deep cuts in the grant from central government, and 89% will do so next year. A minimum of 47 Centres across England have closed or are earmarked for closure by April 2012.
The figures also show that highly qualified staff, including teachers, are being laid off by a third of councils as they battle to make ends meet due to harsh budget cuts from central government.
The concerned 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.
Nic 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.
“I hope that my letter to the Prime Minister will make him 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 out of touch Tories are kicking the ladders away for the next generation.
“These figures confirm what we have known all along – that 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“But even these figures don’t tell the whole story that parents are seeing on the ground: of the services withdrawn from Centres, opening hours cut and trusted staff sacked.
“David Cameron’s Tories are out of touch and out of date.”