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Broken Promises on Sure Start

 The Right Honourable Michael Meacher MP is calling on Oldham Council to prioritise services for children, young people and their families in the face of David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s failure to honour their election promises to defend Sure Start Children’s Centres.

Oldham will see £2,109,480 cut from Sure Start Budgets. This will mean 22 REDUNDANCIES for staff providing health advice in Sure Start Children’s Centres as well as other job losses and major reductions in service.

Mr Meacher is also concerned that the Chancellor, George Osborne has removed the ring-fencing of monies that prevented hard strapped councils from taking money away from Sure Start schemes and using the money to plug gaps in other areas.

Despite promises from David Cameron before the General Election and from the Chancellor since the election Sure Start is facing cuts across the country.  George Osborne, claimed that the dedicated grant for Sure Start would be ‘frozen’ for the next few years but, the new Early Intervention Grant which replaces is has been cut by £1.4 billion up to April 2013.

Michael Meacher said,

 “First, Education Maintenance Allowance was scrapped, then University fees were tripled and now David Cameron and Nick Clegg have broken another election promise to protect Sure Start.  I am concerned that this decision will make life harder for the next generation of children to get on in life.  Of course, services need to be more efficient but cuts that go too far, too fast could mean poorer services, not more efficient services.

Sure Start proved real help to thousands of children and their parents across Oldham and it is a tragedy that these services are being cut. Before the election David Cameron accused Labour of ‘scare mongering’ when we pointed out that his plans would damage Sure Start, now, the Con/Dem Government are forcing councils to do their dirty work for them. 

Sure Start is one of the biggest success stories of the last decade. Across the country there are more than 3,500 centres providing support to 2.7 million children and their families, so it is devastating that the Government sees them as and ‘easy target’.  This is just the latest in a long line of broken promises and cuts from both sides of the coalition.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Speaking in The Independent on May 5th 2010 David Cameron said “Yes we back Sure Start.  It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this.  He’s the Prime Minister of this country but he’s been scaring people about something that really matters.  Not only do we back Sure Start, but we will improve it.”
  2. In the same article Nick Clegg said “Sure Start is a really important programme that has made a real difference to millions of parents.  Difficult decisions are going to have to be made in public spending but Sure Start is one of the best things the last Government has done and I want all of these centres to stay open.”
  3. Research by the Daycare Trust and 4 Children found that 7% of Children’s Centre Managers expected their centres to close within a year – equivalent to 250 across the country which would affect an estimated 60,000 families. 

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