Firms urged to help expand Sure Start

Education secretary Charles Clarke has called on employers to
provide more child care support to help Sure Start services extend
beyond disadvantaged areas.

Clarke told the Sure Start national conference last week that for
Sure Start to run throughout the whole of England it was necessary
to look beyond government resources.

He said: “We are developing a proposal for the comprehensive
spending review, but we have to look to a way of getting extra
resources into this that are not simply from the exchequer.”

Children’s minister Margaret Hodge said more support from employers
could be combined with greater contributions from parents towards
child care to ensure Sure Start’s national roll-out.

Community care minister Stephen Ladyman said there was also a case
for health budgets to contribute towards Sure Start projects.

“If we demonstrate health benefits for Sure Start, then why
shouldn’t we contribute something for those health benefits?” he
asked.

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