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Andrea Leadsom leads debate on early years policies

By Rachel Lawler
 
Andrea Leadsom first 1,001 days
Andrea Leadsom led a debate on the work of the Inter-ministerial Group on Early Years Family Support in the House of Commons yesterday.
 
The debate was shaped by the group’s report, Early Intervention, which considered policies affecting the first 1,001 days of a child’s life and recommended a number of steps for the government.
 
Early Intervention report
Its recommendations include incentivising local authorities to invest in the early years, expanding the Healthy Child Programme to focus on the whole family and increasing funding on early intervention.
 
Leadsom called on the government to take “strong and decisive action to give every baby the best start in life”. She said: “It is clear that the science of brain development matters not just in our early years, but is a cradle-to-grave public health issue, the symptoms of which are evident in the years and decades that follow poor early experiences, which can cost the individual and society so much.”
 
Funding cuts
Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon and education spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats and Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington, both raised the issue of children’s centres, many of which have closed or reduced their services in recent years due to a lack of funding. Leadsom responded: “Although Sure Start centres are a vital part of […] this is about much more than that. That is just one of many services.”
 
Leadsom concluded the debate by repeating the report’s call for greater support for the early years. She said: “Members throughout the House are determined to see every baby get the best possible start in life, and ultimately that is all about love. It is about attachment, it is about good early years services and about the Government working in a joined-up way.”
 
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