The number of children using Sure Start children’s centres in the most deprived areas of England has fallen by more than a fifth, driven by austerity cuts, new research has found. Action for Children’s Closed Doors report found that since 2014, the number of children using children’s centres in the most deprived local authority areas has fallen faster than in the least deprived areas. In the poorest areas, there has been a 22 per cent fall compared to 12 per cent among the most affluent. The decline is described by the charity as “deeply worrying” because deprived areas traditionally record poorer outcomes for children at age five. It means thousands of new parents have “nowhere to turn for early help support”, according to Imran Hussein, director of policy at Action for Children. Read more.