Mike slams Gove cut to funding for Early intervention

Here is my exchange with Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove on Monday21 January  and the follow up question by Labour Shadow Secretary of State Stephen Twigg

Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): What plans he has for early intervention provision; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove): Local authorities have a key role in securing early intervention provision to meet the needs of their communities. To support this, we are increasing the overall funding for early intervention, from £2.2 billion in 2011-12 to £2.5 billion in 2014-15. That funding will enable local authorities to support early intervention provision, as well as funding the early education for two-year-olds from low-income families, which evidence shows is one of the most important types of early intervention.

Mike Gapes: I am interested in those figures, because I do not think they are quite what they seem. If it is so important to have early intervention, why is the Secretary of State actually taking away more than £1 billion from early intervention in England? Why is he taking 41% in real terms—more than £4.4 million—from my local authority, the London borough of Redbridge?

Michael Gove: I am a great fan of the hon. Gentleman; he does distinguished work in this House, so it is rare to see him lapse. I would remind him of two things: we inherited a blasted economic heath as a result of the depredations of the previous Government; and the figures for the amount that we are spending on early intervention rise for every year of this Parliament.

Stephen Twigg (Liverpool, West Derby) (Lab/Co-op): The Secretary of State cites a figure of £2.2 billion for 2011-12, but by that point he had cut £600 million from early intervention in the previous year. I asked him about that in October; since then we have had the local government settlement, which includes a further cut of £49 million to early intervention. Is this not yet another example of how, as the former children’s Minister told the Select Committee last week, children and families are a “declining priority” for this Secretary of State?


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