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David Cameron and Ed Miliband discuss closure of Bromley children's centres

David Cameron

David Cameron

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband wrangled over the closure of the borough's children's centres in Parliament.

Eric Pickles

Mr Miliband quizzed the PM and Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles about Tory-controlled Bromley council closing 13 of its 16 Sure Start centres, during Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday.

He said: “The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government are adamant that there is no need for cuts in local authority frontline services. Can he therefore explain why Conservative-run Bromley council is shutting 13 of its 16 children’s centres?”

Bromley agreed £33million of budget cuts at a full council meeting last Monday which was preceded by protests from residents and campaigners.

Responding to Mr Miliband’s question, Mr Cameron said: “Yes, we have made reductions in local government grant, because frankly we inherited a complete mess in the nation’s finances.

“What we have done is ask every single local authority to make public every single bit of spending they do so that members of the public can make sure they are cutting bureaucracy, cutting councillor allowances and cutting pay, rather than cutting services.”

Speaking about the exchange, Bromley Labour leader John Getgood said: “I was pleased to see David Cameron was put on the spot.

“It shows two things – that the Prime Minister has glossed over the fact he has reduced the money to Bromley and also that the council does not believe in Sure Start.

“Sure Start is not just for families in deprived areas, it is for all families to make sure children get the best possible beginning in life.”

Asked about Mr Cameron’s claims that the Tories inherited a “mess” from Labour, Mr Getgood said: “There is no credibility in using that excuse. These closures are about Conservative ideological desire. Their policy was very similar to ours before the global banking crisis struck.”

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