Daniel Zeichner MP has condemned the Government for the closure of 24 Sure Start centres across Cambridgeshire since 2010 after a Freedom of Information request from Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner found the number of centres has dropped from 40 to 16 in the area.
Sure Start, the transformative early years programme introduced by the previous Labour government, aims to give young children the best start in life. It provides parenting support, childcare, job training for adults as well as health care and advice.
But, across the country, there are now over 1,240 fewer designated Sure Start children’s centres – a fall of around 34% since 2010. Over 230 have been lost in the last year alone.
The news follows fresh findings by the children’s charity “4Children” that 79.4% of parents believed closing children’s centres would make life harder for them and their families. 34.4% said it would make a “big difference” and that life would become “a lot more difficult”.
Daniel Zeichner said: “The closures show that the Government’s promise in 2010 to be the ‘most family friendly Government we’ve ever had’ is completely hollow. The Coalition Government committed to protect Sure Start but the new figures show that this was simply not true.
“In 2010, there were over 3,600 Sure Start centres reaching 2.8 million children across the country. But closures are a direct result of the Government’s cuts.”