‘Sure Start centre closures will leave 400,000 children more vulnerable’

The Duchess of Cambridge knows the importance of early years development in children, and the back-up that young parents need.

She knows getting this wrong at the ­beginning makes for unhappy endings in teenage years and adulthood.

She knows that one of the main causes of death in young mums is suicide, which is why she is building a support network to help them.

Kate also knows that no matter where you come from, children and parents need support.

But background determines whether that support will be forthcoming.

Which is why the Tory attack on Sure Start centres is all the more shocking.

Today we reveal how austerity cuts mean 1,292 have shut since 2010 – that’s more than one in three.

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Yet Sure Starts do everything that Kate is talking about and more. They not only provide clinics, health advice and support for parents but can identify abuse and neglect early.

Now 400,000 fewer children have such protection, and that is a national scandal.

Better to prevent a child being abused in the first place than wring our hands in horror after the event.

Better to spot a young mother’s depression and treat it than to weep at her graveside.

Better that Sure Starts catch ­problems early than for them to fester and cost the NHS an extra £5million a year.

Sure Starts have proved their worth since being introduced in 1998.

Now it’s time for Boris Johnson to recognise their value too.

Healthy attitude

If there is one thing the three Labour leadership contenders can agree on, it is that the NHS needs to be protected from Tory threats to its existence.

Sir Keir Starmer tells the Sunday Mirror today of his own painful experiences sitting by the bedside of his mother and more recently his mother-in-law.

Although he sadly lost them both, he has nothing but praise for the NHS care that
they received.

And it has made him all the more determined to ensure the health service gets the resources it needs.

It was the post-war Labour government which introduced the NHS. It was successive Labour governments which looked after it.

And we’re in no doubt that whoever wins the leadership, Labour will continue to defend it.

Firm favourite

A new impotence product is being ­developed in the UK which aims to achieve the same effect as Viagra, but in gel form.

It’s good news for men everywhere suffering from this widespread – but embarrassing to talk about – problem. Let’s hope it’s not a flop.

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