asked Her Majesty's Government:On what authority the Secretary of State for Education and Employment stated on 19 March (HC Deb., col. 864) that, "I can further confirm that we will be expanding rapidly our education action zone programme. We shall fund a five-fold increase to establish 25 zones by January 1999", when the policy of education action zones has not yet been approved by Parliament. [HL1187]
We want to get the first education action zones started quickly in order to allow local partnerships to begin making the improvements we expect to see. Twelve will start in September 1998 and 13 in January 1999. We will not create formal education action zones before Royal Assent, but if necessary the zone consortia will be able to make a start based on agreements between the relevant parties.