From the TUC

Save our Sure Start services

10 Feb 2011, by in Cuts Watch

You may have missed the news from the Daycare Trust that 250 Sure Start children’s centres face closure – after the seemingly relentless tirade of bad news stories about cuts to services, from libraries to the Citizen Advice Bureau, from after school clubs to women’s refuges, yet another cuts story rarely grabs headlines.

It seemed too good to be true when the Coalition Government promised that Sure Start services would be protected in cash terms. It was. We already knew “cash terms” meant a 9% cut in real terms. We also knew that the ringfencing of Sure Start budgets was to end. In a context of Local Authorities facing budget cuts of 28%, it didn’t take a great leap of the imagination to envisage Sure Start budgets being raided as soon as the ringfencing was removed.

So now the money once earmarked for early years care and family services is up for grabs as Town Halls up and down the country desperately try to plug the gaping holes in their budgets. Not only are 250 Sure Start centres facing closure, but a further 2000 are cutting back on the services they offer and 1000 have issued “at risk of redundancy” notices to their staff.

For anyone in any doubt about the value of Sure Start, it is well worth having a look at the Shout out for Sure Start campaign  for testimonies from parents who rely on the services provided. It’s not all baby yoga for middle class mums as some would have you believe. From toddler groups, to childcare, to breastfeeding support, to counselling, to nutrition advice, to help with benefits and job seeking, Sure Start centres offer a wide range of invaluable services to families who could not afford to pay for them privately.

As Anand Shukla of the Daycare Trust says:

“Behind every Children’s Centre facing closure is a community of families devastated at losing one of their most valued local services. The tragedy of these cuts is that the full extent of Sure Start’s impact on children’s development will only be achieved in the long term – and the impending closure of so many Centres means this investment will not now be fully realised.”

3 Responses to Save our Sure Start services

  1. Tweets that mention Save our Sure Start services | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC —
    Feb 10th 2011, 5:18 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ToUChstone blog, L DTUC. L DTUC said: RT @touchstoneblog: Save our Sure Start services […]

  2. Rosita Stefanyszyn
    Feb 14th 2011, 10:10 am

    This Tory led coalition is behaving in a bullish, macho, arrogant, idealistic manner with all that Labour brought into action, which improved, assisted, and got us back on the road of a caring civilized “united society”. (Forget “big”! and, forget the Super-rich)
    The Tories would close ALL Sure-start centres. but they know they would not get re-elected!
    I know mothers and children who have benifited from this marvelous service.

    There are always improvements, in the name of progress, to be made. All organisations and businesses constantly review their organisation. It is not a viable proposition just close something down that is, for instance, 90% successful, to start again.

    People should try to remember how run-down our country’s infrastructure was and society’s general well-being was when the Labour Party took control

  3. Liz Day
    Feb 15th 2011, 5:54 pm

    As a health visitor, now retired, and nurese tutor I had loads of experience of the important work undertaken by Sure Start services in some of the most deprived areas. The services and opportunities for women and children was so much appreciated and also enabled children to start school ‘on an even playing field’. Cuts in these services will have a devastating effect, and the consequences of these cuts will be felt now and in future employment and educational opportunities for women and children.