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Further closures of children's centres 'inevitable'

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More children’s centres could close as councils are forced to cut spending, the Local Government Association has warned.

Figures published by the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government show spending on sure start children’s centres fell by almost 25% between 2014-15 and 2017-18, from £637m to £480.5m.

Research by the Sutton Trust last year revealed up to 1,000 children’s centres may have closed since 2009.

The LGA said while funding allocated to children’s centres has fallen, councils’ spending on children in care increased by 18% between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

Chair of the LGA’s children and young people board Anntoinette Bramble (Lab) said children’s centres can provide a “lifeline” to children, parents and carers by offering a range of support including advice on health and looking after a new-born baby.

She added: “While many councils have adapted well to the funding pressures and changed how they provide children’s centre services, there is a growing sense that councils have done all they can within ever tightening budgets.

“It is inevitable that without new investment from government in children’s services, councils will face the difficult but unavoidable decision of having to cut or close early help services such as children’s centres.

The LGA has said children’s services face a funding gap of £3.1bn by 2025 and have called in the government to deliver a sustainable funding solution in the spending review.

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