It is right that local councils decide how they spend on children’s centres. Our priority is to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children overall. It is not just about bricks and mortar, but about using and improving evidence about what works.
Given that there are now at least 1,240 fewer designated Sure Start children’s centres than there were in 2010, will the Department commit to retaining the remaining two thirds of the original centres and invest in improving the range of services they offer?
This Government are spending £6 billion on childcare. It is not just about bricks and mortar. There are 2,300 children’s centres and they are very much part of the overall picture, but we will do what works. We have committed £8.5 million for councils to peer review each other, to see what is actually working. I hope that, like the Government, the hon. Gentleman is interested in outcomes rather than just bricks and mortar.