Opposition Day — [15th Allotted Day] — Sure Start Children’s Centres

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:47 pm on 27th April 2011.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Shadow Secretary of State (Education and Election Co-ordinator) 12:47 pm, 27th April 2011

You do. So the Liberal Democrats all think that that is a correct representation and stand by it.

Let us consider Kingston upon Hull, where there is a 50% cut in the Sure Start budget. [ Interruption. ] Dan Rogerson says that that is not true. Perhaps somebody has more up-to-date information and will beg to differ. Kingston upon Thames is another interesting and revealing example. Channel 4 FactCheck picked up the suggestion from the Deputy Prime Minister that the Lib Dems were not closing any centres and Cathy Newman went to Kingston upon Thames to look at whether any centres were being closed. Indeed, one was being closed in Hook. [ Interruption. ] The hon. Member for North Cornwall says that it is not a Sure Start centre. Well, when Cathy Newman went there, she found a plaque on the door that read, “children’s centre”. How can it not be a children’s centre, I ask the hon. Gentleman? I am struggling with this defence.

I acknowledge that Labour councils, too, are taking difficult decisions. We have heard coalition Ministers target Liverpool and Manchester. Liverpool is losing £90 per young person and Manchester £80. Both are working to keep service reductions to a minimum. Hampshire, by contrast, is losing just £30 per child and plans to close 28 centres. How does that work?