HC Deb 21 July 1998 vol 316 c896
3. Mrs. Maria Fyfe (Glasgow, Maryhill)

What progress has been made in the provision of nursery and pre-school places under the child care strategy. [49916]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Sam Galbraith)

We have already achieved a major expansion in pre-school education places and are on target to achieve universal provision by this winter. Following the comprehensive spending review, we will invest an extra £229 million over the period 1999–2002 in pre-school education and child care, leading to further substantial growth in places.

Mrs. Fyfe

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and for the announcement of such generous extra provision for pre-school care. My question may seem superfluous in the light of this morning's useful debate in the Scottish Grand Committee, but will he add to his reply by saying what help will be given to voluntary bodies that have had their pre-school provision stopped, or are about to have it stopped, because of the end of urban aid or other funding?

Mr. Galbraith

I recognise the considerable amount of work that my hon. Friend has put in and the effort that she has expended in propagating this policy. I am very pleased that we have been able to deliver for her.

This year, we have allocated an extra £4.8 million to local authorities, and the majority of those funds will be used for stabilisation and the provision of extra places. That is how we have tackled the problem of underfunding. In the next three years, we shall spend an additional £48 million to deal with those specific problems. We have not only a child care strategy for Scotland but the money to underpin it—and that has been delivered by a Labour Government.

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