Spending on early years cut by £650m

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New DfE figures show local authority spending on Sure Start and early years services has fallen by more than £650 million since 2010.

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The statistics on children’s services spending show between 2010-11 and 2015-16 the amount spent on services by local authorities in England decreased by 9 per cent in real terms.

The 152 local authorities in England spent £9,243 million in total on children’s services in 2010-11, compared to £9,012 million in 2015-16.

One of the biggest falls in spending was on Sure Start and early years, with local authorities spending £659 million less in 2015-16 (£844 million total spending) than they did in 2010-11 (£1,503 million total spending)

According to data obtained by the Labour party, there are now more than 1,240 fewer children's centres than when the Conservatives took office - a fall of around 34 per cent since 2010.

The figures on children's services spending, collated by strategic analysis firm Aldaba also show spending on early help services fell between 2010 and 2016, while spending on children in need increased.

A report by children's charities last month warned that central government funding cuts have left councils with no option but to stop providing early help services and focus on crisis intervention.

A Department for Education spokesperson said, 'More than £200 billion will be available to councils for local services up to 2020, and councils increased spending on children and young people’s services to over £9 billion in 2015-16.

'Our £200 million Innovation Programme is helping develop new and better ways of delivering children’s services. As part of this, we have announced up to £20 million to support further improvement in children’s social care services.'

Writing on Twitter shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said, 'These figures show that the Tories have slashed support for the children who need it the most. Sure Start and early years investment fell by nearly £700million – a 44 per cent cut – with one in three centres forced to shut since 2010 when they came into power.'

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