Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sure Start to Stay - but to be Improved

A key pledge made at last week’s Conference, directly countering Labour’s increasingly tiresome “cuts” rumour mongering – was the Conservatives will NOT scrap Sure Start, the initiative set up in 1998 with the aim of “giving children the best possible start in life.” As Conservatives we believe family is core to a properly functioning society and indeed economy. Our assurance includes the pledge to improve Sure Start.

The concept of Sure Start – to offer support for working Mums, single Mums and families in deprived areas is a fantastic idea. The problem with the initiative is, however, that typical of a Labour run schemes, the problem is Sure Start is run by the Government – where power and control should be put in the hands of local Boards made up of parents and professionals – who know the areas, the children and what they need to run their Sure Start program so it works most effectively for the children in their areas.

Norman Glass, one of the original architects of Sure Start although praising of the work of the body, has strongly criticised per head funding cuts and the steering away from child development to childcare and getting mothers into work.

A Study carried out by the University of Durham study suggested that Sure Start was ineffective at improving results in early schooling. This is such a shame and waste. The Conservative Party instead of scrapping Sure Start want to make Sure Start works properly.

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