Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has attacked the government as new evidence has shown that the Tories have broken their promise to support families, instead slashing Sure Start schemes nationwide.
A series of Freedom of Information requests to local authorities from the Labour Party has revealed there are now around 2,390 designated Sure Start children’s centres across England – a fall of 34 per cent in seven years.
Labour’s investigation has revealed some worrying findings when looking specifically at the number of designated Sure Start centres which have been forced to close; across England since the Conservative Party came to power in 2010, more than 1,240 centres have forced to close their doors.
Across Greater Manchester, Tory cuts to local authority budgets have resulted in the loss of a number of dedicated Sure Start centres in Tameside and Stockport since the Tories came to government in 2010.
Figures unearthed through Labour’s FOI’s have revealed that across all of Tameside, 10 out of 17 Sure Start Centres had been forced to close since 2010 due to central government cuts.
Evidence also revealed that Stockport has been particularly hard hit by Tory cuts with only 4 dedicated Sure Start centres remaining; in 2010 Stockport was served by 19 dedicated Sure Start children’s centres.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“The Tories claim they’re protecting Sure Start, but evidence on the ground shows this is just not the case.
“When Labour established the Sure Start programme we did so in order to provide help to infants from disadvantaged backgrounds before they started school.
“This is a scandal, and it’s unfortunately hardworking parents and children who are paying the price, with the evidence proving that this is yet another essential social programme in which Tories are taking us backwards.”
 The Labour Party submitted a series of Freedom of Information request to local authorities asking the following question:
- The number of designated statutory children’s centres.
- “I’d like this data for the current financial year and each year since 2009/10”
- Responses to this FOI request reveal that 1241.5 – one in three – designated Children’s Centres have been closed since 2010.