Over 1,200 Sure Start centres nationwide could go due to the Tories’ extreme plans to cut spending in the next Parliament.
Labour warns today that this would be disastrous for thousands of families in the South East.
Sure Start closures will hit working families already struggling under David Cameron’s government. His cuts have left many Sure Start centres closed or mothballed while childcare costs have gone up six times faster than wages.
The number of Sure Start centres in the South East has fallen since 2010 from 564 to 482 - a staggering drop of 82.
Labour’s candidate for Crawley, Chris Oxlade, said:
“Thousands of families in the South East are finding themselves trapped by rising childcare costs and the prospect of having their local Sure Start centre closed.
“There are now 82 fewer Sure Start centres in the South East alone under the Tories – Kent families simply can’t afford another 5 years of a Tory government threatening to close even more.
“If we have a Labour Government elected next month it will save Sure Start and double the number of childcare places provided at them to more than 118,000 nationwide.”
Tristram Hunt, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:
“The Tories pose a real threat to Sure Start – a service relied on by thousands of working families.
“Before the last election, David Cameron said he would protect Sure Start but since then there are hundreds fewer centres. If they get in again they’ll do the same again.
“Working families can’t afford five more years of this failing Tory plan. We need Labour’s better plan, which will revive Sure Start, provide more childcare places and extend free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds.”
The visit was covered on South East Today here.