My guess is that few (more likely, none) of the present Cabinet – has had personal, direct responsibility for the totally unaided care of a small child, let alone two or more small children, for 24+ hours, non-stop.
If I’m wrong, I stand willingly corrected – the Comment box below is yours to tell me – but I think it unlikely that any of the senior politicians making national policy and resource decisions about early years provision – and specifically how these will hit Sure Start Children’s Centres – truly knows, or genuinely wants to know, the real implications of what they’re doing here.
And I am pretty sure, more specifically, that by choice they don’t have a clue about the probable impacts of clawing back this provision. Certainly none of the ConDem Cabinet – with just four women and, apparently, 18 (multi-)millionaires – knows what it’s like to struggle for years, caring for small children often alone on a low income.
Of course, the advice is out there, from dozens of well-respected sources; but no-one with the power to change things is learning from it.
To learn, you have to be willing to listen, and to listen you need to perceive the problem; but there’s scant evidence that this is happening.
So services such as Sure Start and Children’s Centres are for the chop across the country, with the facile and deeply unthought-through reasoning that only the most needy should have them.
It is the children of the coming generation who will pay for this wilfully ill-informed decision by a collection of people who know, so they claim, a lot about finance – but very little about the realities for many of every day family life.
As a public sector worker, it seems to me that children’s services are being the most cruelly cut. Ok so funding for schools has been ringfenced but all the support mechanisms for schools and familes are going like LA consultants, Playing for Success, extended services etc. I worry for the most vulnerable families and their futures.