Leadership Candidate Caroline Flint writes on Children’s Centres

Sure Start transforms lives forever. It is one of Labour’s greatest ever achievements and it is under brutal attack by the Tories. Labour Friends of Sure Start believes that the future of our Children’s Centres should be a key issue in this Leadership contest. So we wrote to every candidate for Leader and Deputy Leader of the Party asking their vision for Sure Start. We are publishing their responses this week. Today it is the turn of Deputy Leadership candidate Caroline Flint.

In the 1980s, Labour councils pioneered public nurseries; later the Workplace Nurseries campaign, which I chaired, persuaded the Tory Government to stop taxing workplace nurseries; and I established Lambeth’s first workplace nursery.

Labour’s grassroots campaigning and voice in local government showing how childcare liberated women, supported working parents and offered children a better start in life.

By 1998, I sat on the board of a trailblazer Sure Start in Denaby Main, Doncaster; at the start of one of the best policies from that first Labour Government term.

Of 3,000 Sure Starts created by Labour, by 2015, 720 had closed, and most had lost their childcare. Closures are masked by mergers or unstaffed centres supposedly “open”.

Our vision for Sure start must be a universal service, with extra help targeted from pregnancy to age two; midwifery and health visitors fully involved and a real drive to reach the parents who never walk in.  Let’s learn from Manchester’s example, where parents register their baby’s birth at the Sure Start – opening their eyes to support available straight away.

Saving Sure Start is vital. But we need a Labour Government to ensure Sure Starts changes lives.

I’m a Friend. Good luck. www.caroline4deputy.com #DeputyFlint

Photo source: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/photographs_of_ministers_45 

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