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Sure Start Programme

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many grants were awarded to organisations for the purpose of meeting the capital costs of acquiring property for proposed new Sure Start centres; and what the value was of those grants. (126276)

The General Sure Start Grant (GSSG) provided local authorities with a total of £813 million capital for the period 2006-08. The funding can be used for the developing of Sure Start children’s centres, including acquiring, refurbishing, or building new property. The Department does not collect specific data on capital spent acquiring property for the purpose of developing children’s centres.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures are (a) in place and (b) planned to recover Sure Start grants from organisations that have failed to open child care centres as planned; and if he will make a statement. (126403)

Local authorities are responsible for how they use funding allocated to them through the General Sure Start Grant (GSSG) for the delivery of children's services. They have the freedom to use this funding to develop a range of provision including creating Sure Start Children's Centres, supporting the local child care market and developing extended schools services, in line with Government guidance. This will often involve using the local private, community or voluntary organisations to provide these services. If these organisations fail to deliver these services as planned, it is the responsibility of local authorities to recover this funding.

LAs have been asked to notify and consult with DfES about any proposal to sell or otherwise dispose of, or change the use of, buildings or other tangible assets which have been paid or partly paid for by a DfES capital grant. Notification should be at least three months before any planned disposal is intended to take place, where the market value exceeds £2,500.