Suffolk Coastal Labour Party led a protest in Woodbridge yesterday (Saturday 14 September) in opposition to the County Council’s plans to close more children’s centres across Suffolk. Under Suffolk County Council’s plans the children’s centre in Woodbridge is earmarked for closure, and centres in Rendlesham, Saxmundham and Halesworth will be effectively lost when they are absorbed into adjacent nursery schools.
In 2015 Conservative-led Suffolk County Council closed nine children’s centres across Suffolk. Under the Tories’ plans a further eleven could be lost in 2020.
Children’s centres provide parents with the expert help and support they need for coping with the stress and difficulties of bringing up children, often in difficult circumstances. Cutting these services in rural areas like Suffolk Coastal will place families under even greater stress, harm children’s wellbeing, and risk serious mental health problems for parents.
The success of children’s centres is built on the idea of universal provision. Labour believes Suffolk’s children’s centres should remain accessible to all Suffolk families, not just those who fear the stigma of referral by social services.
Labour will not only reverse the Tories’ austerity cuts but also invest additional money and resources into support for families and children. Labour wants all young families get the best possible start in life.
When the next General Election comes, it will be a very clear choice: either more austerity under the Tories, or properly funded essential services under Labour. Only Labour will stand up for parents and children. Labour will fight these closures all the way.