HC Deb 16 February 1998 vol 306 c748
5. Mr. Woolas

How the reforms to the national lottery will help children's development out of school hours. [27588]

Mr. Fisher

The new opportunities fund will allocate £400 million to out-of-school-hours activities, providing new educational, creative and sporting opportunities in half of all secondary schools and a quarter of all primary schools, as well as child care for up to 1 million children.

Mr. Woolas

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will voluntary organisations—such as Oldham Child Minders Association, which co-ordinates child care in our borough—be entitled to apply for new opportunities funding, or will only those who provide services directly be eligible?

Mr. Fisher

Details of how the fund will operate will be released shortly.

Mr. Tyrie

Under what statutory authority have the shadow accounts for the new opportunities fund been created?

Mr. Fisher

Under the National Lottery Bill

Mr. Maclennan

Is the Minister aware that, while he is giving with one hand, he is drawing away with the other hand opportunities for schoolchildren throughout the country to learn musical instruments? Local authorities are withdrawing their support, owing to the unacceptably tight settlements that they have been given. What does he intend to do to stop the collapse of skilled instrumental teaching in this country?

Mr. Fisher

The right hon. Gentleman refers to a growing problem which has increased over recent years and is causing terrific difficulties for children and for the teaching of music, and he is right to draw attention to it. We believe that the new opportunities arising from the National Lottery Bill will allow us to begin to address some of those difficulties.