Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry petition over closure of council-run nurseries

Parents against cuts to council-run nurseries in Coventry have handed in a petition with more than 3,000 names calling for the plans to be abandoned.

There is anger that all 10 Sure Start centres in the city would no longer provide places for children under two, and seven would become part-time only.

Coventry City Council said that most parents already used private nurseries.

The authority said the move could produce savings of £1m as it faced cuts of £146m over the next four years.

Lisa Woodward, a working mother of a two-year-old who goes to one of the Sure Start centres, said: "It just seems that they [the council] are discriminating against full-time working parents."

"If the proposals went ahead... I'd end up having to find an alternative nursery for my daughter, which I've looked into already and it's going to cost me an extra £100 a month."

'Private provision'

Opposition councillors in Coventry insist that the local authority can afford to keep its nurseries open, despite having to make huge savings in the wake of the coalition government's spending review.

Socialist councillor Dave Nellist said: "They [Labour government] set up 3,000 inclusive and universal Sure Start centres because they recognised that that area of early education and childcare wasn't being done good enough."

The councillor in charge of education, Lynette Kelly, said that most parents used alternative childcare centres anyway.

She said: "More than nine out of 10 parents already choose private provision.

"We're talking about 7% of parents of under fives, that choose childcare, choose council-run nurseries.

"We can't defend every single service. The amount of money it would cost us to maintain this service is £6,000 per year, per child."

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