If the hon. Gentleman bears with me, I am sure that he will get the point that I am coming to, but, in essence, because the money is not ring-fenced, my local authority has voluntarily chosen, in the face of what it says is a 13% cut from the Government, to make a 45% cut in the first year. That came about in the following way, which bears some analysis.
— from debate entitled “Sure Start Children’s Centres”
The three speeches/headings immediately before
- 1 earlier: Gordon Birtwistle
Will the hon. Gentleman expand on this 45% cut? It has been said that the cut adds up to 15% over three years, so has he not got it the wrong way round? It is not 15 multiplied by three; it is 15 divided by three. Could he expand on how he has got to 45%?
- 2 earlier: Andy Slaughter
Indeed, and with a 13% cut in the first year for my area. However, if my hon. Friend does not mind, I want to leave her and the Minister to debate that point, which is a valid one. We heard a disingenuous speech by the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Matthew Hancock), who implied that there was no need to make cuts of that order and that the Government were in some way protecting Sure Start. On the figures that my hon. Friend has given, that is not true around the country. However, if she does not mind, I will leave that point because, from my perspective, we would be grateful for a 13% cut—if I can put it that way—rather than what is actually happening.
- 3 earlier: Sharon Hodgson
Before my hon. Friend moves on, I would like to get some clarity on the assertion, which we keep hearing, that the early intervention grant is being protected in cash terms. When we look at the technical note, which I continually refer to—I even carry it round in my handbag, to have it handy at every
opportunity—we see a £311 million in-year cut for 2010-11. It looks as though the grant is being protected in cash terms, but a £311 million in-year cut is being taken off the bottom, so it is not protected in cash terms at all. When we bear that in mind, we see that we are talking about a 20% cut over three years.
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