Nicky Massey, a Cambridge resident and national campaigner against cuts to children’s centres, is asking the Conservative-led County Council how it will assess and report on the impact of the planned £900,000 cuts to services in Cambridge which will see the closure of a number of children’s centres. Mrs Massey will be putting her questions to the County Council at their Full Council meeting on Tuesday 6 February.
Mrs Massey said: “Parents, teaching unions and communities across the country are continuing to fight the cuts and closures of what is an invaluable early years service and only on Sunday 4 February there was a rally in Cambridge City centre against the planned loss of children’s centres like Cherry Hinton and Romsey Mill in the city and across the county. There is still little clarity about how the new model will ensure core services are maintained in important areas such as Abbey ward in Cambridge which has high levels of deprivation.
The County Council needs to be held accountable for its actions, especially decisions such as refusing to fund the essential Children Centres despite voting to increase council tax to raise extra revenue. Parents deserve to know how the County Council intends to monitor and report on the impact of these cuts, how they can continue to raise concerns about what’s happening to them, and, where gaps in provision are identified for vulnerable families, which actions the county will take to address any shortfalls.”
Mrs Massey, who is part of a team of parents and campaigners who are fighting against the cuts to children centres nationwide, also highlighted the campaigns petition in order to take this to Central Government, and added: “We need everyone to sign the petition, we aim to get 100,000 signatures in order to bring this debate to Parliament.”
Councillor Claire Richards, who led the Labour County Group’s campaign against the closures through last summer along with Arbury’s County Councillor Jocelynne Scutt, said: “The rally in Cambridge on Sunday, and the support from parents affected by the changes, shows that the campaign against these harsh cuts to children’s centres goes on. Our services are shrinking whilst Cambridge and Cambridgeshire are growing and the gap between wealthier and poorer families is widening. That cannot be right. We are firmly against the loss of any children’s centres, but if the Tories in Shire Hall do close them, we have to continue to hold the County Council to account for the impact on the most vulnerable families in Cambridgeshire.