I feel I need to draw people’s attention to the fact that nationally the Government has decided to withdraw the requirement of full day care provision in Sure Start Children’s Centre.
I have to be careful what I say as this decision has been taken under paragraph 4 part 1 Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act. In other words, not for publication.
But as it affects and is going to affect so many of our families in Calderdale I feel I must comment on it.
At least 80% of users attending day care provision in Calderdale live in the bottom 30% or below areas of deprivation.
This means the families are on minimum wage, low income or part time work.
This provision, I feel is a vital helpline to these families in not only giving families a chance to work and contribute, it also gives the children in these deprived areas a chance to engage with other children, help their development and give them a better chance for when they start mainstream education.
Out of the 11 Sure Start Centres we have in Calderdale there are six which are likely to have their funding withdrawn.
One of the reasons given for the withdrawal of this funding is because there is a surplus of child nursery places in the private sector and the Government seems to think where there is an over capacity in nursery places that the Council should not provide that service.
The people who mainly use the Sure Start Centres are those who cannot afford £300-400 a week on private nursery places.
These are the very people we are supposed to be helping and encouraging to work and engage in the big society.