Labour claims 'spending on children's services has fallen by almost £1 billion since 2012'

Local authority spending on services for children and young people has fallen in real terms by almost £1 billion since 2012, Labour has claimed.

Analysis released by the party suggests that net expenditure fell from £7.9 billion in 2012 to 7.6 last year, a decrease of around £300,000.

This figure equates to a cash decline of £950 million when inflation is taken into account, according to Labour's calculations.

The figures were released as Jeremy Corbyn and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner visited Swindon to highlight the closure of all Sure Start centres in the town.

Labour is also launching a roadshow to consult on proposals for a National Education Service.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits a Sure Start centre in south London, 2017. It has been announced that all Sure Start centres in Swindon will close. Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA

Ms Rayner claims the figures show a clear difference be the Labour Party and the Conservative party, with the former proposing an increase in spending.

She said: "Children's services provide a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable children and families across the country, so it is incredibly worrying to see funding has fallen so dramatically in the past six years."

The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne added: "The contrast between our two parties could not be clearer: today, Labour are launching a roadshow to help improve the lives of our youngest and most vulnerable children, whilst the Tories are presiding over damaging cuts, slashing support for the those that need help the most."

The Local Government Association said in January that a child was referred to local authority children's services every 49 seconds in 2017.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We want every child to receive high quality care and support.

"Spending on the most vulnerable children has increased by around half a billion pounds since 2010, and overall the Government has made more than £200 billion available for council services up to 2020."