§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what steps he has taken to provide specific resources to enable local education authorities to provide most nursery places in Scotland; and if he will make a statement;
(2) whether he will now consider making the provision of nursery places a statutory duty of local authorities in Scotland.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
The Government have no plans to impose a statutory duty on education authorities to provide nursery education. In our view, local authorities are best able to decide the most appropriate level of nursery school provision in their areas taking into account local needs and circumstances. The Government provide local authorities with resources to fund education through the aggregate external finance settlement. Under these arrangements, local authorities have the opportunity to increase nursery education spending where they view this as a priority.