David Williams, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich has welcomed National Sure Start Week. The week runs from 14 – 18 September.
David Williams said, “I’m pleased to be backing Sure Start Children’s Centres Week which is promoting the universal services on offer for families across Crewe and Nantwich including childcare, healthcare, parenting advice, family support and opportunities to get back into work or training.
“Before the Labour government was elected there were no Children’s Centres but I’m delighted that there are now twelve across Cheshire East, offering services to children under five and their families.
“By the end of next year there are expected to be a further eight Children’s Centres, a total of twenty open across Cheshire East . This will meet Labour’s manifesto target of 3,500 Children’s Centres open by 2010 and every one of them will soon be linked to a named health visitor.
“And 12,280 children and their families in Cheshire East are now benefitting from the offer of free childcare for three and four year olds and from this month we are rolling out this offer to two year olds, starting with the most disadvantaged families.”
David Williams added, “Parents in Crewe and Nantwich regularly tell me how much they value their local Sure Start centre and the real help they offer with childcare, healthcare and other services for their children. So I want to thank all the Sure Start staff and volunteers who have helped to make them such a success.
“Unfortunately the Tories want to cut the Sure Start budget by £200 million per year. This is the equivalent of one of the five Children’s Centres in Crewe and Nantwich having to close their doors, just at the time when local families need them most. The Labour Government will keep investing in Sure Start because the early years of a child’s life are so important. I don’t want to put that at risk by letting the Conservatives cut Sure Start.”
In their ‘Helping new families’ policy document published on 15 March 2008, the Conservatives committed to cutting “£200 million per year…from Children’s Centres” to spend elsewhere. This would mean cutting 19.5% from Sure Start budgets – the equivalent of one in five Children’s Centres being forced to close.
When asked specifically about Sure Start, the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said “I’m not protecting” the Sure Start budget from cuts.
Nick Robinson: Are you protecting Sure Start?
George Osborne: I'm not protecting other areas. I'm not going to go into specific details of individual programmes but I've made a positive decision and this is part of the choice that David Cameron and the modern Conservatives have made to protect health spending, to protect international development spending because we think those are important commitments for the kind of society we want (interruption)."
Nick Robinson and George Osborne, BBC News, 30 June 2009
The five Crewe and Nantwich Children’s Centres are:
Crewe Rural Children's Centre
Monks Coppenhall Children's Centre
Pebble Brook Children's Centre
Underwood West Children's Centre
Nantwich Children's Centre