§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for Education what was the total public expenditure on the NERIS service; what circumstances have led to it being wound up; what implications there are for the delivery of the national curriculum; what action he is taking to salvage the NERIS database; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Forth
From 1985–86—the first year of investment —to date, the total Government investment in NERIS from my Department and three others was £5 million. The purpose of this was to develop the database service to a position in which NERIS would be fully self-sufficient, serving schools and colleges across the United Kingdom. It failed to do that and the number of subscriptions declined substantially last year to a figure of only some 2,200. It was therefore decided that no further public investment could be justified. The NERIS Trust is currently considering winding-up procedures.