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Early Intervention

Volume 542: debated on Wednesday 21 March 2012

Q7. Further to his letter to the hon. Member for Nottingham North of 15 August 2011, when he expects the civil service to issue the full tender document required to set up an early intervention foundation. (100968)

First, let me pay tribute to the work the hon. Gentleman does in this area. Early intervention is absolutely central to what this Government are looking to achieve. That is how we are going to improve the life chances of the least well-off in our country, and genuinely lift young people and children out of poverty. We will base funding decisions on what comes out of the first two years, but as he will know, the early intervention grant, which is a crucial piece of Government funding and policy, is going to rise next year.

May I thank the Prime Minister and the leaders of all parties in the Chamber for their continuing support for early intervention? Early intervention not only helps babies, children and young people to develop the social and emotional capability to make the best of themselves, but saves the country billions of pounds in the long run. Will the Prime Minister and the Chancellor take this as the first representation not for today’s Budget, but for next year’s Budget? Will he consider theming next year’s Budget around early intervention, bringing forward proposals for tax changes to stimulate the social finance market, which we heard about in earlier questions, and move 1% only of departmental budgets from late intervention to early intervention?

In terms of Budget submissions, that was definitely an example of early intervention. I praise the hon. Gentleman for the work that he has done. As he knows, we will be setting up the early intervention foundation, which will be funded to make the arguments that he has put very effectively, whichever side of the Chamber he has been sitting on, for very many years. I will certainly discuss this issue with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. What we are trying to do is look at all the mechanisms we have, whether it is backing nursery education, introducing a pupil premium, making sure the early intervention grant is going up or actually putting the money in early to try to change people’s life chances before it is too late.