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Sure Start centre closures hit vulnerable families hardest

by Steve Beasant on 5 April, 2018

Research published today by the Sutton Trust and conducted by academics from Oxford University shows that as many as 1,000 Sure Start centres have closed since 2009, with 69% of local authorities reporting a budget decrease in the last two years.

Commenting on the research titled ‘Stop Start’, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson and MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran said: 

“Children’s centres provide invaluable advice and support for families. They have been shown to deliver health and educational benefits and play a crucial role in reducing social inequality.

“This issue is an absolute priority for me. I saw every one of the children’s centres in my constituency close in the year before I became an MP and I know what a devastating impact that has had for some vulnerable local families. This report provides yet more evidence that the Government must act to stem this tide of closures.

“The Sutton Trust are right to highlight the need for a full review and consistent monitoring of provision, so that further erosion of these crucial services does not go unnoticed”.


The report will show that:

  • As many as 1,000 Sure Start centres across the country have closed since 2009 – twice as many as the government has reported.
  • There are big regional variations in the extent of closures. By 2017, sixteen authorities who had closed more than half of their centres accounted for 55% of the total number of closures.
  • The Sutton Trust is calling on the government to complete the long-promised review of the children’s centre programme, as well as maintaining a national register of children’s centres which establishes minimum levels of provision.
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