I WAS shocked and disappointed to hear Labour councillors using the recent council meeting to repeat the untruthful claims in some of their literature that Conservatives would cut Sure Start and Children's Centres. This is quite simply not true.
Far from scrapping it, we want to boost Sure Start by paying for an additional 4,200 trained health visitors and inviting experienced charities and community groups to help run Children's Centres.
This will give parents much better support in the crucial early years of their child's life and ensure resources are targeted towards the disadvantaged children who need them most.
These changes are needed because the most recent Ofsted report on Sure Start found that "half of all Sure Start Centres are not reaching out to the most vulnerable families". The Health Select Committee has reported that "Sure Start has still not demonstrated significant improvements in health outcomes or health inequalities for either children or parents".
Britain also has the highest proportion of lone parents in Europe and one of the highest rates of family breakdown, with the benefits system effectively paying couples to split up.
The gap between rich and poor children in educational outcomes is widening, whilst our educational standards in subjects such as maths are rapidly falling down the international league tables.
Quite simply, we cannot go on like this.
This is why a Conservative government would put significant resources into a better start for children.
DR RACHEL JOYCE
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate