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SureStart centres 'not shut'

The Department for Education was today accused by councils of issuing misleading information about SureStart centre closures.

In response to a Freedom of Information request by the News Statesman, the DfE said that 31 centres had been shut down since May 2010 - more than half in London boroughs.

However the London councils concerned insisted that they had not closed any centres.

Redbridge Council, which was said to have shut seven SureStart centres, said none had been closed although the management of five of them had been merged. It said it was now taking up the matter with the DfE.

Greenwich Council - which was said to have closed five centres - said it was "scandalous" that the DfE had supplied information which was "completely inaccurate". It said no centres in the borough had been shut.

The New Statesman said it had also been contacted by Wandsworth, which was said to have closed four centres, and Hackney, which was said to have shut two, to say they also had not closed any centres.