HC Deb 01 November 1996 vol 284 c282W
Mr. Worthington

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what(a) decisions have been made and (b) procedures have been followed in respect of the appointment of a private company to fund the nursery voucher scheme; and what estimate he has made of the initial and annual costs of this administration. [1000]

Mr. Ancram

Following a competitive tendering process a contract to administer the nursery education voucher scheme on a UK-wide basis was awarded to Capita Management Services Ltd.

Legislation is currently being prepared to permit the extension of the nursery voucher scheme to Northern Ireland and the contract with Capita Management Services includes an opt-in clause for this purpose.

Consultation on the scheme in Northern Ireland ended on 7 June and I will make an announcement on the outcome later in the autumn. The cost of administering the scheme for Northern Ireland is estimated at a total of £300,000 over three years.