Sure Start Children’s Centres

Part of Suppmentary Estimates 2010-11 — Department for Education – in the House of Commons at 3:26 pm on 2nd March 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice) 3:26 pm, 2nd March 2011

I have raised the cuts in Sure Start provision in my constituency with the Minister on a number of occasions, but I make no apology for raising the matter again today. She will accept that this is serious and that I am very concerned. They are the most substantial cuts in public services so far in Hammersmith—from what I have heard today, there are some horrific stories from around the country—and the cuts in my constituency are the largest proportionately anywhere, in that nine of 15 centres will close.

When the Minister responds to the debate, I want her to answer this question, which I have put to the Chair of the Education Committee and others. What is the proper role of the Government in local authorities that do not do what the Government say they should do? Given all the talk of localism, and the fact that the Government are happy to intervene when they think that councils are not clearing snow quickly enough or emptying bins often enough—[ Interruption. ] I am directing my comments to the Minister, who I hoped would listen to them, but apparently she will not—[ Interruption. ] I will pause, if you do not mind, Madam Deputy Speaker, until the Minister pays attention, given that I am asking her a direct and specific question. She persists in talking to her colleagues and not listening, which is somewhat discourteous. I am talking about the majority of services for the under-fives in my constituency being cut by her Government, so she could at least have the courtesy to listen to my comments.

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