Friday, 29 April 2011

Cameron breaks promise on SureStart centre's

Tories and Lib Dems yesterday voted against the Labour’s attempts to protect children centres from central Government cuts. Sure Start services across the country are being taken away from communities who rely on them. In Parliament yesterday the Labour party called on the Government to think again.

A year ago, David Cameron said he would protect and improve Sure Start Children’s Centres[ii], yet despite this promise to voters, the budget for children’s centres has not been protected. The Early Intervention Grant (EIG) through which these services are provided has been cut, in real terms, by about a quarter.
[ii] “I want not just to repeat our commitment to keep Sure Start. But to set out how we will improve Sure Start.”
David Cameron, Supporting Parents speech, 11 january 2010, http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2010/01/David_Cameron_Supporting_parents.asp
“We are strongly committed to Sure Start Children’s Centres”
David Cameron, National Childbirth Trust message (pre-election), http://www.nct.org.uk/active/network/election2010/conservative_party_response_to_nct_manifesto

Sure Start children centres, widely recognised as groundbreaking and highly effective, provide a crucial service for communities. Yet, at a time when families are already being hardest hit by this Tory-led Government, the loss of these services will make life event more difficult. To compound this criticism, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has today warned that child poverty reduction in the UK has stalled[iii].
[iii] OECD report ‘Doing better for families’ published 27 April 2011, www.oecd.org/social/family/doingbetter
The report has called on the Government to protect family services and welfare, echoing the IFS last year[iv].
[iv] IFS research ’The distributional effect of tax and benefit reforms to be introduced between June 2010 and April 2014: a revised assessment’, by James Browne and Peter Levell, was commissioned from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and is published on their website at www.ifs.ac.uk
I voted for this motion to protect children’s centres and am disappointed David Cameron is not keeping his commitment on this.

The Government have not had the guts to be honest about the cuts that they are making to Sure Start. Instead they have cut the budget, removed the ring fence and offloaded the problem and responsibility to local authorities.”

Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party said

“Already we are seeing families up and down the country being hit hardest by the Government’s cuts. These cuts to children’s centres represent just the latest example of this Government making life tougher for families.”

Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of State for Education said

“The Government are breaking their promises to parents and young people across the country. Children and young people deserve better than this. Labour will stand up for young people and give them all a fair start in life, and we will be their voice in tough times.”