Save Derbyshire children’s centres

Chesterfield Socialist Party

The Labour-controlled county council has announced that 32 of Derbyshire’s 51 children’s centres are to close this year, with up to 200 redundancies – their most vicious assault on workers yet in the £157 million cuts they’re making.

This attack will have devastating effects.

A report ‘Early Intervention: The Next Steps’ was written for the government in 2011 by Graham Allen MP.

“For some families in Derbyshire who experience child poverty having access to children’s centre services in these vital years of life will have a significant impact on their positive life chances.”


“Children’s centre services support parents in the critical early years of a child’s life providing a foundation for positive emotional and physical development and in achieving good levels of educational development for successful outcomes in the future.”

For every £1 spent on early intervention, a saving of £10 is accrued later. These cuts are not only a brutal attack on the poorest in society, they are a false economy.

Yet the council hides behind the ‘we have been left with no real choice’ argument. In a written response to a constituent who raised issues about the cuts, the children’s services cabinet member ignored a question as to why reserves couldn’t be used but went on to state:

“I can categorically confirm… the government would, without hesitation, instruct commissioners to take control of the council and cut faster and deeper.”

Council unions

This ignores what campaigners are arguing for – a coordinated campaign across all Labour councils, setting no-cuts budgets (which are not illegal), pooling and using reserves in the interim and involving council unions and local communities. Commissioners couldn’t take over every council!

It is also misleading to state this would automatically lead to ‘faster and deeper’ cuts. Labour councils are complying with the government’s cuts; they are already cutting as fast and as deep as the government is demanding!

Derbyshire Unison is launching a campaign against the closures and will be joined by anti-cuts campaigners throughout the county.

These closures and job losses are not inevitable and will be fought.

Of course there is enormous anger at the Tory government but when local politicians refuse to stand up for their constituents, they are seen as accomplices.

“Nothing we can do”

It is time Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell stopped echoing the ‘nothing we can do’ to fight council cuts mantra.

We invite them to join with ordinary people in fighting austerity. Very soon they would realise that there is very much something we can do!

An online petition is available at and a mass meeting of children’s centre members is to be held.