Ben Gummer finally broke his silence on Children’s Centres in his Star column last week, but I can’t imagine what he said will have impressed many parents, writes Labour Parliamentary Candidate, David Ellesmere.
There wasn’t a word of regret about the closure of the nine children’s centres. In fact, reading Ben’s column you’d be hard pressed to realise that any children’s centres are closing at all.
His claim that there are more children’s centres in Ipswich relies on accepting that the ‘East Ipswich Children’s Centre’is actually achildren’s centre. Nobody believes this.
East Ipswich Children’s Centre’ is PR spin by the County Council to cover up their closure of the Ormiston Children’s Centre.
It has the same address as the Tree HouseChildren’s Centre, the same telephone number as the Tree House Children’sCentre and even the same manager as the Tree House Children’s Centre. Yetwe are expected to believe that it is separate children’s centre.It isn’t.
Ben is also very partial with his description of his “ambush”of Harriet Harman in 2010. He doesn’t mention a statement he issued at the time where he said: “I have a very simple message for anyone involved with Sure Start in Ipswich: the Conservatives have no plans to close any Children's Centres.”
No amount of wriggling can hide the fact that on children’s centres - as on so many other issues - we were promised one thing by the Conservatives in 2010 and they have done completely the opposite.