The Experience of Sure Start in England

Research reports and studies
March 2008
Martin Prowse

Sure Start is one of the Labour government’s most ambitious attempts at tackling extreme deprivation and the cycle of social exclusion in the UK. During the previous era of Conservative Party rule, tacking poverty was not a political priority. For example, the Conservative government never defined an official poverty line between 1979 and 1997. Moreover, as some sections of the Conservative Government believed in an absolute view of poverty, one Conservative Minister went as far as to argue that poverty no longer existed in the UK. Created after the Comprehensive Spending Review in 1998, Sure Start has focussed on the health and welfare of children under the age of four (and their families) in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation. The aim has been to give children the best start in life through service provision to support them and their parents.

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