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Child Care

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of families living in poverty in each UK constituency have (a) free and (b) subsidised childcare. (100869)

I am replying with information on the position in England only. The position in other parts of the United Kingdom is a matter for the respective devolved Administrations.

All three and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 12.5 hours free early education provision over 38 weeks. Through the 10-year childcare strategy, we have committed to extending the universal minimum free early education entitlement to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks by 2010.

As part of the spending review 2004, the Chancellor announced a small scale pilot programme to provide 12,000 disadvantaged two-year-olds (including those from low-income families) with access to free early education and childcare. The pilots commenced in April 2006 and run until 2008. They will enable us to look closely at the potential benefits of such provision, focusing in particular on improvements in child outcomes and closing early achievement gaps. The pilots will also explore the effectiveness of different strategies for engaging the most disadvantaged groups.

Information on subsidised child care is not available.