There were a couple of contradictory news items today that demonstrate the mendacity with which Labour will fight the election.
First, The Standard reported that Gordon Brown warned that the Conservative Party “could” cut funding to Sure Start centres to the tune of £200m, resulting in a 20% reduction in services. As with the greens and their passive conditionals, Labour thinks nothing of using conjecture to create a negative yarn. The Tories have said no such thing, but why let that get in the way of a good scare story.
And then in The Times, there is a commentary piece on how citizens are being means-tested at one Sure Start centre and rejected on the basis of perceived class. Families who are deemed middle class do not meet the “reach” of Sure Start in Hackney and are being turned away. So we have a situation where taxpayers who fund this scheme are not allowed to make use of it.
To use a conditional of my own, what if we did away with all the outreach officers who make up these nonsensical rules and reduced the astronomic £183k salary of the Learning Trust’s chief executive? Maybe that would allow a fair system for all and not just Labour’s chosen few.
Cutting costs in public services does not have to mean reducing the quality, level or “reach” of the services; but it can remove unnecessary staff, red tape and bureaucracy from the equation. Who knows, it “could” even mean that 20% more Sure Start centres can open.