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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:27 pm on 27th April 2011.

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Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Labour, Manchester, Gorton 2:27 pm, 27th April 2011

If the quality of the hon. Gentleman’s first intervention is anything to go by, I think that the House will be better off without a second intervention from him.

However, the problem is not simply the cuts in Manchester’s overall funding but the cuts in the early intervention grant, which helps to fund Sure Start. My right hon. Friend Andy Burnham said that nationally the cuts amounted to £50 per head. In Manchester, the figure is £80 per head: that is what this Government have done to the city. Manchester city council is utterly determined not to close any of our Sure Start centres, but because of what the Government have done—because of the disproportionately high cuts in the early intervention grant—the service that we have been used to in Manchester, and which the council wants to go on providing, will no longer be available.

The council is examining options, not one of which it would prefer to consider. It will have to withdraw from its current role as a provider of services and become a “commissioner of provision”. That means that it will try to provide services which are of sufficient quality and properly targeted, but because of the Government cuts it will not be able to continue to provide the service that a Labour Government enabled my constituents to take for granted as something that they would always have. When I was electioneering for the local elections—