Prime Minister’s mother signs petition to save Oxfordshire children’s centres

Campaigners stand outside Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall in Oxford. Picture by Pier Corona. NNL-150916-113603001
Campaigners stand outside Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall in Oxford. Picture by Pier Corona. NNL-150916-113603001

The mother of Prime Minster David Cameron has put her name on a petition against the closure of children’s centres in Oxfordshire.

With one week to go until the county council vote on the proposed closures of 44 centres, Mary Cameron joined the fight against their closure as members from the group Save Oxfordshire Children’s Centre continue to make people aware of the impact of the cuts to services.

Jill Huish, spokesperson for the group, said she was grateful for Mrs Cameron’s support against the closure of these vital local services.

She said: “I am delighted that Mary Cameron has joined the senior voices, including that of her son the Prime Minister, against the Conservative County Council’s closure of Children’s Centres.

“It seems to be a bizarre situation where David Cameron is unable to defend Children’s Centres against the cruel cuts he’s allowed his own government to impose on local authorities.”

In November Mr Cameron told Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth that the proposals to close the Children’s Centres across the county were ‘unwelcome and counter-productive’.

In their fiery exchange, Mr Hudspeth pointed out that these closures result from the cuts of ‘£62m this year’ imposed on Oxfordshire by Mr Cameron’s government.

Speaking last month, Mr Cameron said: “In the end, getting parenting and the early years right isn’t just about the hardest-to-reach families; it’s about everyone.

“We all have to work at it. And if you don’t have a strong support network – if you don’t know other mums or dads – having your first child can be enormously isolating.”

Responding to this Ms Huish added: “I welcome Mr Cameron’s sentiment but families in Oxfordshire will be struck by the hypocrisy of a Prime Minister who makes such statements whilst failing to keep the Children’s Centres on his owndoorstep open.

“As the recent government funded research from the University of Oxford showed, Children’s Centres’ universal ‘Stay and Play’ sessions make a huge difference to the most disadvantaged families who are also the least likely to use other services outside children’s centres.

“We urge the people of Oxfordshire to join Mrs Cameron and sign our petition against closing Children’s Centres.”

To view the petition click here.