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.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Tory Truth on Sure Start

I have been asked by many people in South Shields, "Is it true the Tories are going to close down Sure Start Centres?" To stop this Labour lie I thought I would post a copy of the recent letter I sent to Sure Start staff in South Shields:

Dear Sure Start Staff

With a general election just weeks away, I thought it might be helpful for me, as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for South Shields, to let you know a bit more about my party's policies for strengthening Sure Start if we win the election.

I know that here in South Shields Sure Start staff and management work hard day in day out, doing all that they can to support families in our community. I can assure you that Sure Start Children's Centres will play a critical role in our vision of making Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe. As David Cameron said recently, we are absolutely committed to keeping Sure Start and helping it do more for families, not less.

It is a pity that Labour are concentrating on spreading scare stories about Conservative plans to cut Sure Start, rather than working to improve the service themselves. Ministers have claimed that our plans to refocus Sure Start spending are a ‘cut’ – but the small print of the Budget revealed that Labour are themselves planning to make up to £150m of ‘efficiencies’ in the Sure Start budget. False rumours about our plans have caused real anxiety and concern amongst parents, and risked distracting attention from the important task of improving Sure Start. Let me make it quite clear: the Conservatives have no plans to close any Children's Centres.

Now the Centres have been created, Labour thinks the job is done - Sure Start staff know the job is really only just starting. The National Audit Office, the Audit Commission and OFSTED have all criticised this Government's failure to help develop Sure Start, and in particular to support the poorest and most vulnerable families in our communities better. Our plans and vision for Sure Start will change that.

We will strengthen Sure Start by recruiting thousands of new Sure Start Health Visitors and introducing a universal Sure Start Health Visitor service - improving the support Sure Start is able to provide to every family. Currently, fewer than one in five Sure Start Children's Centres has a formal agreement with their local Primary Care trust to join together to provide the services families need. Our plans will change that, and put health back at the heart of Sure Start as it was when the programme was originally launched. Sure Start Health Visitors, working with outreach and other workers, will also help improve the effectiveness of support given to the most vulnerable families.

This will cost £200 million per year and will be paid for using money the Government has set aside for more Sure Start outreach workers and from the Department of Health, the budget of which the Conservative Party has promised to increase in real terms every year.

We want Britain to be the most family friendly country in Europe. A stronger Sure Start is at the heart of delivering on that vision. I look forward to working with you to make this change happen.

Yours sincerely,

Karen Allen


Blogger Rogue Economist said...

Thankyou for the transparency Karen, open honesty shows clear integrity and willingness to take responsibility, unlike Labour that hide behind innuendo and half truths.

12:57 am  

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