Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

26/03/08 Tory cuts will harm Skelmersdale families, says MP Rosi

FOUR Skelmersdale children's centres could have their funding cut under plans unveiled by the Conservatives.

Rosie Cooper MP

Sure Start facilities at the old Park County School in Old Skem; St John's in Birch Green and the First Steps centres in Tanhouse and Digmoor could be targeted by the Tories in a bid to make more than £120m in cuts.

It could also throw into doubt plans for more 'sateillite' centres already being mooted by Lancashire Country Council and which could be opened in other parts of West Lancashire. West Lancs Labour MP Rosie Cooper is furious about the proposals, which were recently unveiled by David Cameron.

He says they can make a saving of "£200 million per year, with which the Government are intending to pay for a new cadre of 'outreach' workers from Children's Centres".

However, the Government's extra investment - announced last year - for two outreach workers in 1,500 children's centres in the most disadvantaged areas would cost £78 million each year. There is therefore a black hole of over £120 million per year in the Tory plans. This would have to be funded by further cuts to Sure Start in constituencies across the country – on top of the cuts to outreach workers which would hit the poorest families hardest.

Rosie said: "This is a real slap in the face for young parents, children and their families from the Conservatives.

"One minute they portray themselves as being on the side of young families and the next they are openly discussing how to cut the very services they rely on.

"If this is Cameron's idea of 'compassionate Conservatism' then I'd hate to see what his other plans are”.

"Once again, they're targeting the poorest areas by cutting services and then claiming it's a good idea, but it won't wash”.

"They forget that people in Skelmersdale have long memories. They remember the dark days of the Tories in the 1980s and 1990s when unemployment went through the roof and schools were starved of funding.

"Thanks to Labour, we now have vibrant new schools, such as St Francis of Assisi in Digmoor, Sure Start schemes in Old Skem, Birch Green, Tanhouse and Digmoor as well as low umemployment and more businesses investing in Skelmersdale.

"The Conservatives wrecked this town once during the Thatcher/Major years and this latest cut just proves they are hell-bent on doing it again."

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