by Hugo Pierre, schools convenor for Unison in Camden
Camden council cuts mean four nurseries will lose all their places for two, three and four year olds. Campaigners lobbied the Labour council against the £600,000 cut to the budget on 2 March. The nurseries are in the most deprived parts of the borough. They provide a valuable opportunity for children who otherwise would start school below national average levels of achievement. A recent report revealed that the Camden life expectancy gap between rich and poor has doubled during this austerity decade. Incredibly, the council say these cuts are an opportunity to tackle underachievement of deprived children – by replacing nursery places with drop-in services. So working parents, anyone in education or those acting as carers for other family members can drop all this, to find time to pop into the Sure Start service with their kids?
Low-income families, especially if parents work multiple jobs, will surely find a sympathetic ear from their exploitative employer! The lead councillor for this project was put on the spot by parents and the staff union Unison. They are jointly campaigning vigorously throughout the borough to oppose these cuts, and call on the Labour council to abandon them. In the rally outside, there was good support for the Socialist Party view that these cuts councillors should be replaced by fighters willing to organise the local community to demand the money for our services from the Tories.