Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11299

Posted on 3 March 2011 at 17:13 GMT

Sure Start campaign in Manchester gains momentum

Sure Start protest in Manchester, photo Hugh Caffrey

Sure Start protest in Manchester, photo Hugh Caffrey   (Click to enlarge)

Forty Sure Start centres across Manchester face closure and privatisation as the city council carries out the government spending cuts at the expense of jobs and services.
One quarter of children in Manchester grow up in severe poverty. That is 25,000 young people in one of Britain's biggest cities who are "in homes with no heating, without eating a proper meal and without proper school uniforms to put on in the morning" according to charity Save the Children.
Part of the solution is an expansion of public services. Yet the government and council are smashing up such vital children's and families' services as Sure Start centres.
A Sure Start worker and Unison member in Manchester explains why we must save these services and how parents and staff are campaigning against the threats.

Manchester council plan to privatise and outsource children's centres to PVIs (Private, Voluntary and Independent providers). It will directly impact on the most vulnerable children and it will impact on working parents because it's going to mean a hike in childcare fees.

It reduces quality because it will be profit-led, and essentially the council are expecting staff to stick around to be sold over lock, stock and barrel to the PVIs.

A large proportion of private nurseries are staffed by women aged 16 to 21, who haven't had as much training and investment in them as older workers. They get paid less money, don't get sick pay and only get statutory holidays.

Essentially Sure Start has a 50:50 split, of places for children especially in need and places for everyone in the community. There will be less play opportunities for children under five, for children who wouldn't have opportunities for play because of a lack of money.

Sure Start provides a 'core offer' of services: to vulnerable families through out-reach, health-related support, education - like access to training courses and employment, and money advice like the budgeting advice course for people who need help to avoid loan sharks and put their money into credit unions etc.

Staff's response is anger at the prospect we're just going to be sold up the river, anger that the head of Children's Services has just taken a huge retirement pay-out. She stated at one of the Children's Services briefings that she doesn't care who provides these services so long as they're good. Nice one!

She argued for a totally defeatist attitude, 'there's no point in campaigning', she stated that. Staff were devastated, demoralised, saying 'what's the point'.

But the parents took it up to another level, so the staff were like, 'we're going to have a go about this!' The parents' response was to get together at children's centres, making a very organised effort to get in touch with local MPs and local councillors and letting them know we're not having it.

There are petitions going round, and they're getting in the local media with articles.

This is a proper grassroots thing - mums and dads and grandmas. One of the parents who uses Sure Start services was so angered by the council's proposals that she sat outside her house with the baby in the buggy and doing the petition and she got 40 signatures.

She gave the other parents on the estate the petition and they took it away and got it filled out too.

All this brought about a demonstration on Saturday 26 February. Parents, carers and children from various Sure Start children's centres across Manchester descended on the town hall with buggies and push chairs to send out a clear message to the council that they strongly oppose the huge cuts to children's services.

The protest saw parents and children with homemade banners from all different backgrounds coming together to save a key part of their local communities.

Parents voiced strongly that families should not be paying for bankers' mistakes and that the current government is allowing the rich to walk away and ordinary working people are picking up the tab.

The demo was also attended by Unite's union branch at the council that has shown great support to the campaign, including doing a leaflet and petition to support it.

Jimmy Thornton, the Unite branch secretary asked that the MPs and various councillors at the demo commit to funding Sure Start and ensuring that services remain open.

Parents were pleased at the level of support that has been shown, however they acknowledge that much work is to be done after the protest to maintain momentum.

They next plan to send petitions, testimonials and case studies to prime minister David Cameron, council leader Richard Leese and Manchester Central MP Tony Lloyd.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Manchester:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleManchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

triangleTories Out demo - Photos

Children:

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

triangleShocking insight into Isis

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

Parents:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleEducation cuts forced back

Council:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Childcare:

triangleWeakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2