Lynn’s would-be MPs have been urged to lobby the new government for cash to save a college nursery which is at risk of closure.
Last week, the College of West Anglia warned that its Apple Wood Children’s Nursery may have to shut as early as this July in order to help plug a £2 million funding gap in the college’s finances.
And its principal, David Pomfret, pleaded with politicians to an end to the austerity that he says are leaving them with “an almost impossible task” of maintaining standards with less money.
Now, members of the North West Norfolk Constituency Labour Party have issued an open letter calling for whoever is elected as the area’s MP on May 7 to act.
It said: “We ask that funding is made available to keep the excellent Apple Wood nursery open on the College of West Anglia site.
“All candidates will claim they want to support strivers and protect local services. Now is the time to put their words into action.
“It is people who live locally who use this nursery while they are at work or study. It is a major retrograde step for any government, irrespective of its colour, to make life difficult for parents.
“And it is a blow to the economic future of this area, and the country in general, when it becomes impossible to arrange safe and secure childcare for residents who are striving to make life better for themselves, their families and the community.”
The letter continued: “At West Norfolk Council there are disagreements between political parties, and education is not a function the borough council has responsibility for.
“But no councillor has opposed the support the borough council gives to helping raise the standards of education locally.”
And the party has criticised Conservative candidate Henry Bellingham for suggesting that investments could not be made in education until the economic deficit is tackled.
The letter said: “If we want a strong and prosperous economy there is no alternative to investing in education, because without investment in education any growth in the economy will be limited and based on low wages and exploitation of workers.”
However, Mr Bellingham has already pledged to raise the issue with the new government and described the closure plan as a “backward step”.
The letter has been issued on behalf of 17 Labour candidates in the West Norfolk Council elections, including group leader, John Collop.
Other signatories include current borough councillors Sandra Collop, Gary Howman, Charles Joyce, Gary McGuinness, Jim Moriarty, Andy Tyler, the group’s deputy leader, and Margaret Wilkinson.
A total of 15 full and part-time jobs are understood to be at risk from the closure plan, which the college says it has no choice but to pursue as the nursery is not part of its core functions.
College officials have also revealed they are consulting with staff on a range of other cost-saving measures.