Councils have reduced the amount of money they are spending on Sure Start children’s centres by a quarter in the past four years, new figures have revealed.
Over the same time period, councils spent 18% more on providing care and support for looked after children.
The Local Government Association (LGA) warned children’s centres are ‘facing a fight for survival’, with 1,000 being closed since 2009.
The LGA said it was ‘inevitable’ councils will be forced to close more children’s centres unless children’s services are properly funded in this year’s Spending Review.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘While many councils have adapted well to the funding pressures and changed how they provide children’s centre services, there is a growing sense that councils have done all they can within ever tightening budgets.
‘It is inevitable that without new investment from government in children’s services, councils will face the difficult but unavoidable decision of having to cut or close early help services such as children’s centres.’