§ Mr. Ivan Henderson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the total amount of 685W Government funding allocated to Essex County Council for the purposes of education for 1998–99; and what amount the Council has budgeted to spend. 
§ Mr. Byers
Government support for education spending is provided mainly through the education SSA system but these are not recommended levels of expenditure. Essex's education SSA for 1998–99 is some £497 million—an increase of some £27 million or 5.8 per cent. I understand that Essex budgeted to spend some £475 million on education in 1997–98, £5 million more than the SSA for education (allowing for local government reorganisation) and has budgeted to spend some £494 million in 1998–99 which is £3 million less than its education SSA.