M-2: The Sure Start Programme

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M-2: The Sure Start Programme
Mr Speaker, 

I rise today to announce to the House that, in the forthcoming budget, additional funding will be allocated to the Sure Start programme. This funding will be used to expand the programme in order to reach more children in more areas of the country where the support of Sure Start Centres will make a significant different to education and their life chances. 

The expansion will focus first and foremost on areas not currently covered by the initial programme coverage, but which show high need or where local authorities have reported they would have high impact. Even though this Government has initiated 250 local programmes under Sure Start and we will reach thousands of children, the current provision will still not reach all who could benefit from it.  

By expanding the programme to support more communities, families and children we will continue the legacy set by John Smith of improving the chances for all to have the best start in life they can, regardless of where people are from. I am proud that this action is my first act as Secretary of State for Education.
MP for Cambridge (1992 - )
Secretary of State for Education
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Madame Speaker.

I rise today to welcome the aim of the Right Honourable Gentleman's statement that Sure Start shall be getting more funding. Sure Start is one of a number of programmes that will benefit the whole country by advantaging our disadvantaged young people at the start of their lives. That being said Madame Speaker I must ask why this statement was needed at all other than for some pro-Labour column inches. The terms of expansion are vague offering only details that the Government shall focus on "areas not currently covered" and there is no costing done for this at all. Madame Speaker, I ask the Right Honourable Gentleman how much will his solid policy cost the nation? And why did he feel the need to start offering up budget bits when the Chancellor has explicitly ruled one out for round a quarter of a year?

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Mac the Great and Powerful
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I thank the Secretary of State for his statement. The House will move on to other matters.
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