Rotherham MP fights children’s centre closures

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
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Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has spoken of her disappointment at the lack of information the Government has on children’s centres and who is running them.

She submitted a series of written Parliamentary Questions asking for figures on the number of Sure Start centres to have closed, how many centres are currently operating as a charity or co-operative, or are run by private sector companies.

The MP also asked how the risk and impact of reducing the Early Intervention Grant that councils receive was assessed.

Her questions form part of her campaign against the proposed closure of children’s centres in Rotherham.

She claims Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare, said the Government does not record the number of children’s centres that have moved outside of local authority control to a charity or co-operative.

Likewise, no information is held on the number of children’s centres currently run by private sector companies.

Ms Champion said: “I can’t believe that the Minister couldn’t even provide me with simple figures and crucial information around these imperative services.

“How can they oversee whether children’s centres are being well run or not if they don’t even know who is running them?

“Taking away these centres is counter-productive and will lead to significant cost pressures in the longer term. The Government must put a stop to these cuts and protect our children and their families who need the vital support these centres offer. I will continue to fight the Government to get to the bottom of this.”