The Tories 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 year 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 that 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.
In the South East, 150 Sure Start Centres have been slashed.
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.
“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.”