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One in six children’s centres has closed since 2010

By Rachel Lawlerchildren's centre closures

One in six children’s centres has closed since 2010, according to figures released by the government this weekend.

The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Chris Ruane.

One in six centres closed
Michelle Donelan, who is covering Kemi Badenoch’s maternity leave, answered the question, revealing that the total number of children’s centres has decreased from 3,620 in 2010 to 3,050 in 2019.

Funding cuts
Last year, statistics showed that government spending on Sure Start children’s centres fell by £100 million between 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Earlier this year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies called on the government to “reinvest” in children’s centres as its research found that they had a “big positive effect” on children’s health.

"Incredibly concerning"
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance commented: “It is incredibly concerning to see that so many children’s centres have closed over the past nine years.

“Children’s centres play a crucial role in supporting children and families - and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds - and yet, for many years now, the government has failed to develop any clear strategy or policy on these vital services.

“What’s more, given that many centres still technically operating have been all but hollowed out, the reality on the ground is actually a lot worse than these figures suggest.

“At a time when there is so much talk of improving social mobility, it beggars belief that such a vital source of help and support for vulnerable families has effectively been abandoned.

“Ahead of the upcoming election, we call on all political parties to commit to making a substantial investment into children’s centres, and to ensuring that those families that need it most have access to the early support services that they need.”

Find out more
Government risks Sure Start success, according to IFS report
Sure Start funding cut £100 million since 2017