Today, Leicester South’s MP Jon Ashworth announced that with one young child in tow and another on the way: “if I was ever forced to decide between being an MP or being a dad, I would pick fatherhood every time.” Given this loving and caring attitude let’s just hope he resigns soon, as Leicester would certainly be a better place for all our children with one less Blairite in power!
Ashworth goes on to attempt to shock Leicester citizens — who know Labour’s dirty habits all too well — by announcing that his party is opposing the Con-Dem’s vile attacks on affordable and decent provision of childcare facilities. This coming from the same political party that obstinately refuses to oppose nearly all of the public sector cuts being forced through by the hated Con-Dems.
Nevertheless, Gordon Brown’s former political advisor, then has the nerve to call for a revolution in childcare. So one might ask: what kind of revolution in childcare have Labour proposed to undertake in Leicester?
Well according to the most recent “Consultation on Leicester City Council’s Budget 2013-2015,” plans are afoot to cut the “Education and children’s services” budget by £2.2 million. To take a few examples, the Council…
…aim to save £60,000 by eliminating all funded playscheme activity for three to 12-year-olds during Easter and half-term holidays. Funding for children’s centres will also be slashed from £6.86 million to £5.18 million by 2014/15.
The budget for providing training for childcare workers in childcare settings will be cut from £300,000 to £200,000. While another £228,000 will be “saved” by “delet[ing]the remaining six childcare and early learning manager posts and transfer responsibilities to other managers and staff in the neighbourhoods.” Combined with these savings, the budget for the provision of part-time youth workers will be cut from £450,000 to £300,000 a year, which will entail more job deletions and will apparently allow the provision of a “more flexible service at times and locations that better meet young people’s needs.”
Finally, the budget for the Bookstart scheme (which provides a free pack of books to every baby and child under the age of four to promote reading) will be reduced by more than half from £111,000 to just £50,000 per year.
Wow, the Labour Party’s idea of a revolution in childcare seems suspiciously similar to the old reforms that politicians never tire of introducing: where reform is a code word for axing public services.
Finally, for those who hopes have been raised by Ashworth’s fiery rhetoric, and are still looking for a real revolution in childcare services… then one could do no better than joining the fight for such an alternative by joining the Socialist Party. Maybe see you soon?