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Photograph - Emily Outside Manor Park Children’s Centre

Responding to Sutton Council’s decision to apply 14% cuts across all local Children’s Centres, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers said:
“I’m alarmed by the Lib Dem axe now salami slicing Children’s Centres on the grounds of fairness, arguing that it spreads the pain equally. Applying a 14% salami slice, as proposed by Lib Dem Sutton Council will only weaken services, resulting in more process driven bureaucracy rather than delivering tangible outcomes.
“Frankly, salami slicing is another way for Lib Dem leaders to abdicate their responsibility for making decisions. It is no good trying to wriggle out of this one as they are tied into the Coalition Government’s austerity agenda, so passing the book by blaming Westminster simply doesn’t work.
“I’m perplexed by their decision to cut services in this way ahead of determining the longer term strategy for Children’s Centres and the redesign of provision. They’ve got into another muddle by failing to put strategy ahead of delivery.
“As Lib Dem Sutton Council is intent on making these drastic cuts, I suggest they take a step back and consider a more strategic approach than it is so far proposing. That why I’m calling today for a fresh approach: integrating services into a cluster of Family Support Centres - bringing local authority community and social care services together with community based health services.
“I want to see a vision that meets family needs, not this crude Lib Dem reaction to financial pressures. That will only take Sure Start to a sure end.
“Sure Start children's centres need to be more ambitious and at the heart of local authority health and well-being boards' early intervention and preventative strategies. They need to reach community and voluntary groups, to better provide seamless support to local families. That’s why the next Labour Government is committed to integrating health and social care.
“Demand for support services to children is increasing because hardworking families are experiencing a tough time. Developing these facilities will help avert family crises, whereas taking support away simply results in more expensive longer term interventions. This Lib Dem myopic view will not support local families effectively.”


Photograph - Emily Outside Thomas Wall Children’s Centre

In 2014-15 Sutton’s services for children and young people will reduce expenditure by £1.838 million. This has been partly met through re-organisation of services, but decisions have now been made to find £540,000 through a range of actions, such as ending a contract that support young people at risk of alcohol and drug abuse.
Beyond the end of this year, the Children’s Services Redesign Programme is scheduled to deliver a further £1.936 million in savings for 2015-16 and then £4.159 million in savings for 2016-17. As part of these savings, a meeting of the Children, Family and Education Committee held on 18/09/14, London Borough of Sutton, resolved to implement a 14% reduction in the level of funding to every Children’s Centre, saving £176k annually with effect from April 2015.
There are 14 Children’s Centres and the combined total of funding is approximately £1.8 million. Sutton Council is developing a revised Children’s Centre Strategy and a redesign of the future provision of early help services through Children’s Centres.



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