Over 1,000 sure start centres could close if the Tories win a second term in power, the Labour Party has claimed today.
According to Labour, 269 Sure Start centres face the axe this year, while George Osborne’s Budget spending plans imply a further 786 closures between 2015 and 2019.
This comes as Doncaster’s Labour council have proposed closing eight children’s centres and nine youth centres across the borough.
However, Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary, has warned that George Osborne’s plans would reduce budgets for children’s centres by one-quarter over the next four years.
He said: “The Tories pose a real threat to Sure Start – a service relied on by thousands of working families.
“Before the last election, David Cameron said he would protect Sure Start but since then there are hundreds fewer centres. If they get in again they will do the same again.”
Responding to Labour’s claims, a Conservative spokesman said: “Record numbers of families are using children’s centres - this is desperate stuff from Labour.
“They are simply scare-mongering to try and get Ed Miliband’s shambolic election campaign off the ground - it was Tristram Hunt who said he wouldn’t open more Sure Start centres.
“Labour’s lack of an economic plan would put these services under threat and would put our children’s future at risk.
“Only the Conservatives can deliver the strong economy that allows us to invest in services like this and secure a better future for families.”