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Sure Start

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what studies have been undertaken about the means and methods to sustain Sure Start projects deemed beneficial when the money under that programme is no longer available for such projects; what replacement programme for Sure Start is envisaged when that is (a) running down and (b) completed in an area; and if he will make a statement. [125545]

A national evaluation of Sure Start local programmes (SSLPs) began in January 2001 and is due to run until July 2008. Each SSLP also undertakes its own local evaluation.Both levels of evaluation will provide information on the effectiveness of local programmes in the short, medium and long-term, identifying examples of good practice and factors associated with the longer-term sustainability of Sure Start local programmes.Each SSLP receives funding for up to 10 years and is expected to develop a strategy to maintain improved child outcomes as the additional financial contribution declines, including helping mainstream services to implement the lessons from Sure Start. Many SSLPs will form the basis of Children's Centres in their areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much of the latest departmental underspend was accounted for by the Sure Start programme. [125991]

My department's expenditure outturn was published in the Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper on 16 July (command number 5884).The Department's resources are allocated on a 3 year basis by the Treasury. Departments are allowed to carry forward any unused funds from one year to the next to ensure the most effective use of funds and to recognise the fact that expenditure patterns on some activities, including on capital funding, can be difficult to predict.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Sure Start schemes were completed in each year since 1999; what the annual spending on Sure Start programmes has been in each year since 1998; what plans he has for the expansion of the Sure Start programme; and if he will make a statement. [125992]

Each Sure Start local programme (SSLP) receives funding for up to 10 years and is expected to develop a strategy to maintain improved child outcomes as the additional financial contribution declines, including helping mainstream services to implement the lessons from Sure Start. We will also build on programmes like Sure Start, Neighbourhood Nurseries and Early Excellence Centres to create a network of children's centres in disadvantaged areas providing good quality integrated childcare with early education, family and health services, and training and employment advice, for at least 650,000 children and their families.Table 1 provides information on the number of SSLPs and the date they were announced. Table 2 provides an annual breakdown of SSLPs spending since the inception of the programme in 1999–00 through to 2002–03.

Table 1

Date announced

SSLPs

19 January 199959
15 November 199969
13 July 200065
31 January 200067
17 July 2000179
14 May 200085
Total SSLPs524

Table 2

Financial year

SSLPs spend £ million

1999–20005
2000–0156
2001–02134
2002–03216
Total SSLPs spend411