Betts slams coalition as cuts hit children’s centre budgets

MP Clive Betts,
MP Clive Betts,
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A SHEFFIELD politican has criticised the coalition Government for rejecting a plea by Labour MPs to reverse funding cuts for Sure Start children’s centres.

The opposition party had proposed a motion in Parliament to protect their budgets.

Coalition MPs say all departments are facing cuts and Lib Dems in Sheffield have highlighted high management costs of Sure Start centres in the city, which are having their budgets cut by 15 per cent.

Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts said: “This week, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reported that Labour’s investment in support for children and families – in child benefit, in working families tax credits, in childcare support – had seen child poverty cut from 17.4 per cent to 10.5 per cent.

“This was more than any other OECD country in the same period. Then, the report warned child poverty reduction in the UK has stalled, and that we’re going to go backwards.

“I voted for this motion to protect children’s centres. Neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg has the guts to be honest about the cuts they are making to Sure Start.

“Instead they have cut the budget, removed the ring fence and offloaded the problem and responsibility to local councils.

“These cuts are going to affect every child and every family in the city.”

The Lib Dems say although budget cuts are being made, it is the only party which has not closed Sure Start centres in areas where it controls councils.

They say Labour and Conservative-run authorities have shut sites in their areas.