Brent Labour protects Sure Start Children Centres from Liberal Tory Cuts

Sarah Teather has wrongly claimed with the headline on her website that ‘Labour Council chooses to close Sure Start centres’.

Firstly ALL OF BRENT’S SEVENTEEN SURE START CENTRES have been protected in this years budget contrary to Lib Dem promotional material. This is in the backdrop of 20% cuts to Sure Start funding from £10 million to £8 million from… wait for it… the Minister for Children and Brent Central MP Sarah Teather.

The Brent Lib Dems continue to claim that they are giving more money for Sure Start.

However, the coalition has not protected the Sure Start budget as David Cameron has said. It has amalgamated funding for the centres into a new “early intervention grant” (EIG), which also includes funding for programmes related to teenage pregnancy, mental health and youth crime. So Brent has to use the money we spend in this area and put it all into one pot of spending to include Sure Start. A bit underhand from Sarah Teather and the Brent Lib Dems but we expect it.

Cllr Mary Arnold, Brent’s Lead Member for Children and Families, said:

“Sure Start is one of the greatest achievements of the last Labour Government. Labour investment in Sure Start recognised that investing in children yields returns for all of us in society.

The coalition’s cuts to Sure Start funding are a tragic mistake. This decision follows cuts to BSF, trebling of tuition fees, and the abolition of EMA. As usual young people are the victims of right-wing slash and burn attitudes to the welfare state.

I’m proud that my Council colleagues have found a way to protect all our centres. Let’s hope there’s a new Government soon which recognises that Brent’s children all deserve a sure start in life.”

Coalition Cuts to Brent Council: Children and Families

I previously mentioned here, that I would provide greater detail to reduction in Central Government Grants allocated to Brent Council for Children and Families. In Summer 2010 the Government cut £1,882,000 to Brent Council’s Children and Families Grant.

The detail of Sarah Teather’s Government cuts stemming from the reduction in ‘hidden grants’ to Brent’s Children are impossible to justify or defend.

They include:

  • £68,000 reduction to care at home packages.
  • £101,000 reduction in grant to fund Connexions. This will lead to non-renewal of four staff contracts and reduce contracts with the voluntary sector. Connexions provide information and advice to people to help make the decisions and choices in their lives.
  • £26,000 grant to help tackle young people’s substance misuse. This could lead to a reduction in outreach work and targeted support.
  • £162,000 reduction in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
  • £211,000 reduction in the Children’s Fund grant which could lead o a reduction of contracts for ESOL classes, parental support for vulnerable families, targeted sexual advice and support and an e-safety programme.
  • £27,000 reduction in Teenage Pregnancy Grant which could lead to reduced services provided to children in Brent at risk of becoming parents.
  • £45,000 reduction in the Youth Opportunities Fund which will lead to schemes being reduced or re-prioritised.
  • A whopping £326,000 reduction in the Think Family grant, which will lead to a reduction in support to parents which is available at universal as well as targeted levels as well as a reduction in the Family Intervention Programme.
  • £75,000 reduction in the Playbuilders grant which will lead to ceasing or scaling back of schemes that were already agreed to extend children’s play facilities.
  • £30,000 cut to the Brent Community Friends grant, which will lead to some loss in services that are provided directly to looked after children.

As the Government Minister in the Department for Education, it is atrocious that MP for Brent Central Sarah Teather is inflicting so much damage to Brent’s children. Especially to those who are most vulnerable as the outlined cuts mentioned above suggest.

Conservatives miss the point

The Conservatives have been criticised for wrongly reporting the rate of teenage pregnancies in the most deprived areas of the country in an attack document aimed at the Labour Party.

In a cheap attempt to win traditional Labour votes, the Tories produced an attack document on Labour’s failings on poor families and said that the teenage pregnancy rate in the most deprived areas of Britain was a staggering 54%. In fact the correct figure is 5.4%. A Conservative spokesperson has responded and put the error down to a decimal point. How can a Party that fails to understand decimal points be trusted on running the economy. It also shows the Conservative’s knowledge of Britain’s deprived areas by not noticing the error on the document en route to publication.

The teen pregnancy rate has actually fallen by 6% since 1997.

Guardian article – LINK