§ Mr. Leighton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to improve child care provision, following the EC child care recommendations.
§ Mr. Yeo
The EC child care recommendation, adopted on 31 March 1992, will contribute to the continuing debate on child care. The Department's latest statistics, "Children's day care facilities at 31 March 1991, England."; a copy of which is available in the Library, show that in England between 1988 and 1991 registered day nursery places grew by 112 per cent. from 36,000 to 77,000 and the number of registered child-minders by 42 per cent. from 73,600 to 104,900. The Children Act 1989 gives a new duty to local authorities to review the child-care services used by children aged under eight in their area every three years and publish a report. This requirement gives local authorities a strategic role in child care and provides a legal framework for production of a local child care plan which will result in sensible expansion and development.