Nursery funding campaign goes to Westminster

Salford campaigners to the fore in launching national funding campaign at Parliament on 25 April

Cowd with banners at Salford nurseries rally in March

Nursery campaigners will travel to Westminster on Wednesday 25 April to press the case for prover government funding of this key early-years service for children and working parents.

Campaigners from Salford will be to the fore, having arranged the day with the city’s three MPs.

Salford UNISON branch secretary Steven North says the city “faced the closure of five nurseries, all of which are rated outstanding by Ofsted, but we know that there are many other areas around the country facing a similar threat because of changes to the funding arrangements.

The closure of these nurseries would lead to over 100 job losses – the vast majority of which are UNISON members – and the loss of childcare provision for hundreds of children and their families.

“After a huge public meeting, our mayor agreed to suspend any consultation on the closures while we organised a joint campaign to challenge the government over the funding of these nurseries and the way in which the bulk direct schools grant they have long relied upon now has to be spent purely on private sector provision.”

A coach full of campaigners from Salford, including parents, workers, councillors and Salford mayor Paul Dennett will travel to Westminster, on Wedneday.

They have arranged a meeting with Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles, Barbara Keeley, Worsely and Eccles South, and Graham Stringer, Broughton and Blackley.

The move to build a country-wide campaign has grown out of action to save five council nurseries in Salford, threatened with closure because of central government budget cuts.

Campaigning over the five nurseries in March included a successful march and rally in Salford, attracting more than 1,000 people and addressed by shadow education secretary – and UNISON member – Angela Raynor.

Watch a Granada TV report on the Salford march and rally

Salford council found enough funding to keep the nurseries open until the start of the 2019-20 school year in September next year, but their existence is still under threat after that.

This is a situation being experienced in councils up and down the country, which is why next Wednesday is being used to launch a national campaign calling on central government to properly fund the service.

It will feature a campaign meeting in Committee Room 12 at the Palace of Westminster and Mr North says: “It would be great to see as many MPs there as possible so they can hear more about cuts to nurseries and find out how they can help support vital early years provision.

“Our aim is to rally support from MPs to demand the funding needed to deliver the outstanding early years support that our communities deserve – be that in Salford, Birmingham, Cambridge, Bradford, or anywhere else faced with these cuts.”