Today in Parliament

The debate on in the Chamber at the moment is on Local Government finance. It could run till nearly 9pm rather than the usual 7pm Wednesday finish. I say usual – last Wednesday it was 9pm too, for some of us at least.

There’s currently a consultation going on, or perhaps it’s more a lobbying exercise, on changing Parliament’s sitting hours. The suggestion is that we adopt the same hours on Tuesdays as on Wednesdays, so 11.30am to 7.30pm (including the adjournment debate); at the moment it’s 2.30pm to 10.30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, with most Select committees sitting Tuesday mornings. I’m not that fussed, it would be quite nice to have the option of going out and doing something that isn’t work on a Tuesday evening, but I suspect many of us will end up staying past kicking out time anyway, to deal with emails and such like.

On Monday I’m doing another EU Committee, as the Labour frontbencher. I saw the ominous looking bundle of papers (at least 8 inches high) in the Vote Office a few weeks ago, but then they were pulled because the date of the Committee changed, and they’re still not available yet. It would be nice to be able to sit and work through them tonight/ tomorrow rather than having to carry them home with me on the train and curl up with them on the sofa on Sunday, but I suspect that’s not going to happen. (I say nice, obviously that’s a relative term!)

Anyway, apologies for being so dull. Here’s Channel 4’s Factcheck on Cameron’s “mistake” at PMQs today about the SureStart budget. Basically, the funding he was referring to covers 22 different schemes, not just Sure Start – and it’s still £185 million down on the 2010-11 allocations listed below. With an end to ringfencing, local authorities will only be able to save all their Sure Start  schemes if they make savage cuts elsewhere. Our calculation during the election campaign was that a Tory cut of £200m to Sure Start would mean 1 in 5 centres closing… the Tories denied they would do anything of the sort.

 In other news from PMQs, John Healey has written to David Cameron, asking him to apologise for misquoting him, and, in doing so, suggesting he approved of NHS ‘reforms’…. 

Grant Name 2010-11 Allocation £m
Sure Start Children’s Centres
Early Years Sustainability- including funding for sufficiency and access, quality and inclusion, buddying, holiday child care and disabled access to childcare
Early Years Workforce – quality and inclusion, graduate leader fund and every child a talker
Two Year Old Offer – Early Learning and Childcare
Disabled Children Short Breaks
Think Family
Youth Opportunity Fund
Youth Crime Action Plan
Challenge and Support
Children’s Fund
Positive Activities for Young People Programme
Youth Taskforce
Young People Substance Misuse
Teenage Pregnancy
Key Stage 4 Foundation Learning
Targeted Mental Health in Schools Grant
Children’s Social Care Workforce
Intensive Intervention Grant
January Guarantee
Child Trust Fund
DfE Emergency Budget Reduction
Total Grants
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