Sinn Féin - On Your Side

After Schools provision left in limbo

3 March, 2006

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson has joined PlayBoard in criticising the British Government's Direct Rule Ministers, Angela Smith and Jeff Rooker, for failing to address after school provision for children.

Michael Ferguson said,

"This is yet another example of the British Government's second class treatment of parents and children on this island and it will have an adverse impact on in particular low and middle income working lone parents.

"I wrote to Direct Rule Angela Smith and her Department following the allocation of £680m to extended school projects in England and again when they invested £918m in Early Years provision making the case for our children, our parents and our schools and out of school projects in the Six Counties.

"After Schools providers are being left in limbo, totally uncertain about their future. We need a decisive response that clearly identifies what money is being put in place to sustain after schools.

"This situation is compounded by the millions upon millions of pounds being taken out of our school budgets and reinforces the need for the restoration of the Assembly and the appointment of our own locally accountable ministers.

"This is the type of real issue that direct rule is just not dealing with properly. It should have been dealt effectively.

"Sally Garden Community Centre in Poleglass has an after schools project for 24 children. This project is located in an area characterized by multiple deprivation with a population of 10.000, 6.000 of which are under 18 years of age and there isn't even one a playground for children. The area also has 53% of all of Lisburn City's unemployed so the loss of this after schools project will have a devastating impact and begs the question as to this British Governments own commitment to its own TSN policy which is clearly
lip service." ENDS

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