The funding for services like Sure Start and childcare in Stockton-on-Tees is being slashed by £70 per child next year, new figures have revealed.
Local MP Alex Cunningham said: “The Prime Minister made a personal promise to protect and build on Sure Start. Now we know that these were just hollow words and yet another broken promise to the families of Stockton.”
“Of course all services need to look to be more efficient, but cuts which go too far and too fast could mean poorer services for children and families in Stockton and maybe even a loss of some Sure Start Centres.”
“They provide real help to thousands of children and parents across Stockton and it would be a real tragedy if some of them were forced to close when they have just begun to pay real dividends.
“Before the election David Cameron accused Labour of scaremongering when we pointed out that his plans would damage Sure Start; now the Tory-led government are forcing councils to do their dirty work for them.”
The House of Commons Library was asked how much funding would be available next year per child from the Early Intervention Grant, compared to the funding available this year.
Their figures showed:
• On average across England, there will be central government funding cuts of £50 per child for ‘early intervention’ services like Sure Start and childcare
• In some of the poorest areas including Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Knowsley, the cuts are at least £100 per child
• In some wealthier areas including Richmond, Buckinghamshire, Wokingham and Surrey, the cuts will be £30 per child
• Overall, funding for ‘early intervention’ services will be down by 22% next year
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham MP said:
“The areas being hit hardest are the most deprived – it’s is not only unfair, it’s the wrong long-term decision for the country. By cutting too far and too fast and asking children and families to bear the brunt, this Tory-led Government is showing that they have no idea what pressure ordinary families are under.
“Early Intervention services like Sure Start Children’s Centres work with families to improve health, education and life chances. These services will be lost for years and this country will pay the price in terms of unfulfilled potential, poorer economic growth and halting social mobility for generations.”