Gipsy Hill’s Labour councillors, Matthew Bennett, Jenny Brathwaite & Niranjan Francis have pledged not to close our Sure Start centres, including Kingswood Children’s Centre, despite the Tory government cutting funding for children’s centres 21% in just one year.
David Cameron and George Osborne have abandoned their promise to protect Sure Start, and are instead slashing budgets by hundreds of millions across the UK, with poor areas like Lambeth singled out for bigger cuts. The Early Intervention Grant which pays for children’s centres has been cut by over £5 million in Lambeth, equivalent to a £90 cut for every young person. We think it is deeply unfair that the Tory-led Government appears to be protecting wealthier boroughs like Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Windsor and Maidenhead, who are seeing a cut of only £30 a head.
Lambeth’s Labour administration has now pledged to protect Lambeth’s entire network of 27 children’s centres, which are vital to ensure very young children and their families get the very best start in life. Lambeth has lost over £6million in grants for services like Children’s Centres, which is on top of the £79m of savings the Council must make after the Tory-led government slashed its budget by a third. No Lambeth children’s centre will close this year despite the cuts, and Labour have ring fenced more than £13 million to spend on early years. By contrast, Tory-controlled Hammersmith & Fulham has withdrawn funding from nine of their children’s centres.