Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich David Ellesmere has today criticised the confirmation by Conservative-run Suffolk County Council that nine children’s centres are to close, branding the decision “a disgrace”.
In Ipswich Quayside and Meredith Road are confirmed as facing closure. This follows the closure of the Ormiston Children’s Centre last year.
County Council papers released yesterday confirm that the nine centres will start being closed from the beginning of April.
Conservative County Councillors are accused of ignoring their own consultation which showed that the closure of the children’s centres was massively unpopular. Only 6% of respondents agreed with the proposals to close centres.
The consultation also showed that more than a fifth of parents would stop using children’s centres if these closures went ahead. Three quarters of professionals who responded thought that the closures would have a negative impact on the service.
The papers also identify not only that nine centres will close, but that there will be a reduction in the number of services provided. For instance the “replacement” for Meredith Road will have 36 fewer sessions provided. This is despite repeated claims by Conservatives that these services are not being cut.
Labour are concerned that this is only the thin edge of the wedge as the council are also in the process of making Children’s Centres staff redundant although they are yet to come clean on the actual number of people who will lose their jobs.
The council commissioned a report from Frank Field, but the findings of the report have been cherry picked to back up what they were already planning to do, whilst ignoring the recommendations that would really have made a difference to those who really need the services provided by Children’s Centres.
David Ellesmere said; “Before the last General Election Ben Gummer promised that Children’s Centres were safe with the Conservatives. What the Tories are doing blows that claim out of the water. Ben Gummer should apologise to everyone he misled before the last General Election.”
Notes to Editors
Papers for the Cabinet meeting can be found at