Agenda item

MOTION: Nursery Classes and Sure Start Children's Centres


Proposed by Councillor Kenny

Seconded by Councillor Phil Davies


(1) Council welcomes the commitment of this Government to the welfare of young children and recognises the major advances that have been made in the provision of nursery school classes, with every three and four-year-old now able to take up a nursery school place, and in the provision of help for younger children and their families.


(2) In particular, Council notes that ten years ago there were no were no Sure Start Children’s Centres and that today there are 19 on the Wirral and nearly 3,000 nationally, thanks to over £7 billion funding from a Labour government.


(3) Council further notes that, from April 2009, funding for Sure Start Children’s Centres nationally will top a billion pounds a year and notes with pleasure that we can see the real impact this radical reform is having on children and families throughout the Wirral.


(4) Council expresses its real dismay that all this would be put at risk if the Tories were elected into power and that David Cameron’s stated plans to cut these services would leave families without the support they need and would be a devastating blow to parents and children in communities across Wirral.


(5) Council recognises that Sure Start Children’s Centres make a massive difference to parents and under-fives, throughout the Wirral, and welcomes the fact that every family within the Wirral will have access to a Children’s Centre by March 2010.


(6) Council is therefore appalled that the Conservative Party’s plans to cut £200m each year from the Sure Start budget could see at least four Children’s Centres on Wirral forced to close their doors.


(7) Council further notes with concern that the Conservative Party is also committed to restricting the Department for Children, Schools and Families budget to a 1% real terms increase from April this year - representing a £300 million cut - and that, although no announcement of where these cuts will fall has been made, there is a real possibility that this could mean further cuts to Sure Start Children’s Centres in the Wirral.


(8) Council wishes to place on record its thanks to everyone concerned with making the Sure Start Children’s Centres programme such a success in the Wirral, to the benefit of many thousands of children and their families, and agrees to do even more to publicise their services throughout the Wirral.


Amendment submitted in accordance with Standing Order 7(2):


Proposed by Councillor Sheila Clarke

Seconded by Councillor Karen Hayes


Delete the whole of the motion and substitute:


(1) This Council notes:


(i) the entire Council’s commitment to improving the life chances of all young children;


(ii) the Conservative Group’s full support over a long period for Wirral’s Sure Start programme;


(2) Council expresses its disappointment that, with so many issues facing Wirral, the Labour Group has chosen to falsely accuse the Conservatives of planning to cut these services by reducing £200 million (almost 20%) from the Sure Start budget.


(3) Council believes that Sure Start should be more ‘Health-led’, noting that under the current Government the number of trained health visitors has reduced by 2000.


(4) Council welcomes the Conservative Party’s initiative to use money set aside for outreach workers to pay for 4200 health visitors, enabling all parents to be better supported through the crucial early years of their child’s life.


(5) Council believes that the Labour Group would be better working for the introduction of more effective ways of helping families rather than seeking to play on their fears.


The amendment was put and lost (24:37). The motion was put and lost (17:44).