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Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

We are building Sure Start centres in my hon. Friend’s constituency, and we will continue to invest in under-fives provision. I congratulate him on pushing for that in his constituency.

The Prime Minister is aware of the massive financial costs of failing to raise our young people properly. These include the cost of prisons, policing, drug rehabilitation and a lifetime on benefits. Does he agree that a better way is to intervene early and invest to save, by providing effective prenatal services and intensive health visiting and by comprehensive parenting skills being taught to all teenagers? Will he consider making such an early intervention strategy the centrepiece of the next comprehensive spending review, so that we can tackle once and for all the intergenerational nature of these problems that afflict our young people?

Let me say also that I look forward to visiting my hon. Friend’s constituency. I pay tribute to the work that he has done on making an issue of greater provision for the under-fives. This is part of the work that we are doing as a result of the comprehensive spending review. Our aim is to ensure that, for those children under five, any disadvantages that were previously built into their upbringing and prospects are removed as a result of Sure Start and other measures. I gather that there are 11 Sure Start centres in Nottingham already, and we are going to improve the numbers over the next few months. I also believe that Nottingham will be one of the first local authorities to benefit from the Every Child a Reader programme. We will do everything that we can to give more chances to every child under five in the country.