The Institute for Fiscal Studies research found that where Sure Start offered high levels of service in poorer areas in England, visits to hospital fell among children of primary school age, and by a third of all 11-year-olds. Direct savings through fewer hospital visits saved the NHS £5m.
Funding for Sure Start was cut by two-thirds between 2011-2017, and in that time we’ve seen an increase in hospital admissions for school aged children.
Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour Spokesperson for Children and Young People said, ‘Sure Start played a really important role in improving the health of young people, giving children from poorer backgrounds a better start in life, whilst also delivering significant financial savings for the NHS.
‘Conservative austerity has resulted in the loss of one thousand Sure Start centres across the country. Here in Medway we lost 6 centres while those remaining are only able to offer reduced services. This resulted in 100,000 lost opportunities to intervene positively in children’s and families’ lives.
‘This conclusive report should act as a warning to ministers on the effects of cutting early years funding, but it’s clear from Cllr Jarrett’s recent comments regarding Sure Start that Medway Conservatives are unable or unwilling to understand the importance of investing in early years help.
‘Families already under intense pressure face bleak prospects unless austerity is reversed and this Conservative government recognises the importance of investing in long term support for families and children.’
The Health Effects of Sure Start report:
Cllr Jarrett claimed that Sure Start had become a way of people accessing cheap childcare: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/leaders-face-off-ahead-of-crunch-election-203286/
Reduction in numbers attending Sure Start: Public question 741H) https://democracy.medway.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=4125
The Stop Start report shows similar results: https://www.suttontrust.com/research-paper/sure-start-childrens-centres-england/
Here in Medway we lost 6 centres while those remaining are only able to offer reduced services. This resulted in 100,000 lost opportunities to intervene positively in children’s and families’ lives. Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour Spokesperson for Children and Young People