WATCH: Sandy Martin grills PM on cuts to children's centres in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 15:25 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:41 10 July 2019
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has taken the issue of cuts to children's centres in the town to Prime Minister Theresa May.
Mr Martin asked a question at today's PMQs, grilling the PM on why the public should accept policy guarantees from the Government when Conservatives in his constituency had previously claimed no children's centres would close in the town.
He said Suffolk County Council were now looking to close half of the centres that remain.
MORE: Big revamp planned for Suffolk's children's centres - here's what you need to know
Mr Martin asked the PM: "In the run up to the 2010 general election the Conservatives in my constituency claimed that no children's centres would close.
"And yet within a matter of months they were closing them and downgrading those that remained.
"Now Suffolk County Council is proposing to close half of those that remain, leaving just four full-time children's centres in Ipswich out of the original nine.
"So will the Prime Minister tell us what sort of guarantees the Government can give for any future policies which they want the British people to believe?"
The Prime Minister replied: "Can I say to the honourable gentleman we recognise the importance of ensuring that children have access to high quality care.
"We've been putting extra money into social care including for children. "But it's also about the sort of services that are delivered.
"It's important for us that we have taken a number of steps to improve the facilities that are available for looking after children in communities where those children require that - for example the standards we he have set for social workers. "And we do see the number of children's services that are rated outstanding growing across the country. "I think that's important, that's a Government that is actually looking at the issues that matter to parents and matter to children."
Mr Martin's performance in parliament has received a generally warm welcome on social media.
Sue Thomas tweeted: "Just seen Labour MP @sandyofipswich questioning Theresa May on closure of Children's Centres in Suffolk, leaving only 4 in Ipswich, when Tories had denied they would close. Her answer was hesitant and gave the impression she didn't understand what Centres do. #SureStart #PMQs"
Ben Norton said: "Note the date, I'm about to praise Sandy Martin.
"In asking about children's centres in Ipswich, he revealed that Theresa May has NO CLUE what they do or what they're for.
"Might be the first time I've seen him stand up for Ipswich. Instead of ignoring Ipswich voters over Brexit."
Julia Larden said: "5 out of 9 children's centres in Ipswich have been closed. They have taken a number of steps to improve the facilities available to children she says. So that's OK then? The MP vigorously shakes his head. #PMQs"
On Monday, when a revamp of children's centres was announced, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for education and children's services Gordon Jones said: "It's about having a service which reflects the needs of today, changes in social media and the way we communicate. Buildings don't deliver services, it's the people who do. It's really to target those families who really need our services, and trying to get early intervention because we all know the sooner you address a problem the better the outcomes."
- What do you think of Mr Martin's House of Commons performance?