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Investing in support for young children and families is smart policy. It helps to reduce child poverty, improves achievements in education, and reduces inequalities in ways that benefit a generation throughout their entire life.

I am proud of the work the last Labour Government did to create Sure Start, but this should have been just the beginning. Support for early years education should have grown and opportunities expanded to more and more families.

The Tories instead have taken a short term approach, stripping away funding bit by bit until centres close or have their services cut back. Labour has revealed figures through Freedom of Information requests that show more than a third of sure start centres have closed since 2010. That’s 1,240 fewer Sure Start centres since David Cameron first became Prime Minister.

It won’t save money in the long-run: addressing avoidable education, health or crime issues later in life will be far more expensive. A helping hand to young families today lifts all of up, but the Tories have taken that away.

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I was proud to open Oxford Grove Children’s Centre in 2002. The Government should not be putting services like this at risk.

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