To close a building in a community can rob it of a useful resource, but to close a children’s centre robs a community of something far more precious—its future. We have heard many contributions about the value of Sure Start and our children’s centres, and differing opinions about the extent to which they have been successful, but there has been general consensus that the Sure Start programme has been a success and ensured that children get the right start in life.
I have visited all the children’s centres in my constituency and been struck by the many stories of the parents and grandparents who take their young ones to them, and have benefited from them more than from many other services that our local authorities provide.
I will be party political in my speech: Conservatives are robbing families in my constituency of the chance of a better future. As my hon. Friend Stephen Twigg said, it is a matter of record that the city of Liverpool has the greatest need but is getting the biggest cuts. To those who need the most will come the least. My first question to Government Front Benchers who are present—and to Treasury Ministers who are not—is to ask what they have against the children of my constituency.
Yes, it is.
At least the House and the country can see what the Government’s priorities are. As my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby said, even if Liverpool had the average level of local authority cuts, my city would get £26 million more than it currently receives—enough to save the Sure Start centres at Childwall and Woolton, and Church and Mossley Hill, which are today threatened with closure.
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