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Pre-School Education: Finance

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of extending the early years education entitlement to 20 hours per week for (a) three to five year olds in workless households, (b) children living in relative poverty and (c) all three to five year olds. (205622)

The CSR settlement for DCSF announced at Budget 2007 includes more than £3 billion per year on funding the free early education entitlement. An additional £590 million over the CSR period will extend that entitlement to 15 hours per week by 2010-11. The free-entitlement funding is in addition to significant increases in funding for other Sure Start, Childcare and early years policies, such as children's centres and improved quality provision, leading to spending over £1.6 billion by 2010-11, an increase of over £340 million during the CSR period.

To estimate costs of an extension to 20 hours would require an analysis of childcare costs and other factors at the time of implementation, and of the impact on both supply of and demand for provision in the childcare market. Costing a targeted extension would require an assessment of any extra administrative costs from targeting and any differences in the cost of making provision available to particular groups.