Spending on Sure Start children’s centres and services for under fives plummeted by £110m last year, according to latest government data. Section 251 outturn data for 2017/18 shows local government expenditure on services for young people were also slashed by £32m in 2017/18, compared to the previous financial year. The data submitted to the Department for Education by councils, suggests that the drain on non-statutory spending was caused by increased pressures in looked-after children budgets. Rising numbers of children in care led to £320m more being spent in this area across councils in 2017/18, compared to 2016/17. Councils spent just 7.1 per cent of their overall budget on Sure Start children’s centres in 2017/18, compared to 8.4 per cent in 2016/17. They spent 4.4 per cent of their overall spend on young people’s services compared to 4.9 per cent the year before. Read more.