Employers urged to invest in Sure Start extension

Education secretary Charles Clarke called on employers to
provide more childcare support to help enable Sure Start services
to extend beyond disadvantaged areas, writes Amy

Speaking at the Sure Start national conference, Clarke said that
in order for Sure Start to run throughout the whole of England and
not only in the most disadvantaged areas, there was a need to look
at using “extra resources” beyond the government’s

“We have an ambitious programme and we are developing a
proposal for the comprehensive spending review, but we have to look
to a way of getting extra resources in to this that are not simply
from the exchequer,” he said.

Also speaking at the conference, minister for children Margaret
Hodge said that more support from employers could be combined with
a financial contribution from parents towards child care and the
child care tax credit to enable Sure Start services to be rolled
out nationally.

Health minister Stephen Ladyman said there was a case for Sure
Start funding to be provided from health budgets.

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

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