Why do we need a Labour Council in Leeds?
Here’s one good reason.
As a result of the Coalition’s actions, there are now 612 fewer Sure Start Centres for our children than there were in 2010.
But here in Leeds – despite all the cuts – the Labour Council has kept them all open.
That’s in line with Labour’s priorities – to protect the weakest and most vulnerable, especially in these times of enforced austerity.
The national figures come from EvidenceUK.
And they are a double scandal.
A scandal because so many centres catering for the poorest and most needy children have been closed.
But a scandal too because of the Government’s massaging of the evidence to try to hide what has been happening.
In 2010 the LibDem/Tory Coalition removed the ring-fencing of funding for Sure Start centres.
This has led to a cut of 28% in Sure Start funding under the LibDem/Tory Coaliton, according to the House of Commons Education Select Committee. As a result, 23% of Centres surveyed say they are cutting back on places in this year. 72% of surveyed Sure Start Centres state that what services they are able to offer has been affected by the cuts. [All the evidence for this can be found at EvidenceUK’s website, directly taken from the Government’s own documentation.]
Faced with these facts, Michael Gove has attempted to hide the truth. He’s claimed that all the centres have not closed completely. He claims that there are ‘additional sites’ that still provide children’s services.
But investigation shows that some of these ‘additional sites’ open for no more than 7 hours a week. Some of them are being double counted. Some of them are ‘half a person and a bunch of leaflets’.
Michael Gove is busy doing what this Coalition does so well – massaging facts and figures to try to hide what’s really happening.
But we can assure you that here in Labour-controlled Leeds, all the Sure Start Centres have been kept open – no smoke and mirrors, no juggling the figures – simply open.
In the face of truly unprecedented cuts in Local Government finance by the Coalition, Leeds Labour Council has had to prioritise – and its priorities have been children, the weak and the vulnerable.
Labour’s candidates next Thursday are committed to these same values.
The truth is that politicians are NOT all the same.
And voting makes a difference.
So vote Labour on 22 May, and help us continue to make a difference here in Leeds.