Barnsley Central MP, Dan Jarvis has questioned fellow South Yorkshire MP, Nick Clegg over the Government’s plans for the Early Intervention Grant.
During oral questions to the Deputy Prime Minister, Jarvis asked:
“The Early Intervention Grant is used by local authorities to fund programmes that have the potential to transform the long-term life chances of deprived children. Yet we recently discovered that hundreds of millions of this money will be diverted to fund the provision of nursery places for two year olds. We cannot tackle child poverty and improve social mobility by taking money from one set of essential services to pay for another. What steps is the Deputy Prime Minister taking to ensure that this pot of funding is protected?”
After the Commons exchange, Jarvis explained, “It’s recently become clear that resources from the £2.3 billion per annum Early Intervention Grant look set to be used to fund the new pre-school places offer for deprived 2 year olds. This is set to cost £700 million per year.
“I welcome the provision of 15 hours of free early education for disadvantaged two year olds but funding this from the Early Intervention Grant means an enormous cut to the money that councils have to provide early intervention programmes, just as real progress was being made in this area.
“It would mean providing free early education for deprived 2 year olds by squeezing funding for the network of Children's Centres and wider health and family support services.
“What the Government should be doing is prioritising focus on early years interventions to improve children's life chances - not moving money from one important priority to another”.