Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website.
Supporting children in their formative years has always been a passion of mine and an area which I have helped push during my time as an MP.
Yet recent analysis by Labour has shown that under the Tories we have seen £500 million cut from the Early Intervention Grant since 2013, with a projected £183 million more to be cut by 2020.
This represents a total cut of 40 per cent between 2013 and 2020.
Early intervention saves society a lot more than intervening at a later stage when support can be less effective.
It can ensure that children’s lives are improved and they have the opportunity to achieve all that they can. This is not being seen under the Tories, despite their rhetoric of being champions of social mobility.
If they were serious about improving the lives of children, then they wouldn’t be cutting off the vital funding necessary to achieving it.
The Government has a track record of putting the opportunities of children at risk with no consideration for their futures.
Firstly, we have seen one in three Sure Start Centres close across the country.
Secondly, we have seen the Government determined to scrap Universal Infant Free School Meals on two occasions now (2015 and 2017), which thanks to campaigners and parents we have seen saved for now.
Or, thirdly, the current worries regarding the roll-out of Universal Credit and the impact this will have on free school meals, where under proposals on the future of free school meals currently under consultation, the Children’s Society have estimated that one million children living in poverty may miss out on this important intervention.
Labour have always championed improving services for children and families, and will continue to hold this Government to account on their actions as they cut these services to the bone and provide an alternative approach that allows all children, no matter their background or circumstances, to flourish.