§ Mr. Öpik
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what will be the total level of his Department's budget, in 1995–96 prices, in(a) 1997–98 and (b) 1998–99; if he will estimate what such figures for (i) 1997–98 and (ii) 1998–99 would be on the basis of the estimates of the GDP deflator contained in the November 1996 Budget; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Howells
I refer the hon. Member to the reply from my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham (Mr. Timms) on 10 December 1997,Official Report, columns 568–72.
In 1995–96 prices the figures quoted in that reply for the DfEE are £13.3 billion for 1997–98 and £12.3 billion for 1998–99. On the basis of the November 1996 GDP deflators, the figures in 1995–96 prices would be £13.5 billion for 1997–98 and £12.5 billion for 1998–99. As my right hon. Friend noted, the apparent reduction for the DfEE between 1997–98 and 1998–99 principally consists of transfers to other Departments, notably the return to local government finance, following the abolition of the nursery vouchers scheme, of resources for under 5-year-olds to support local education authorities' early years development plans. As my right hon. Friend also noted, the figures for the DfEE do not include the £1 billion provided for schools in 1998–99 in the Budget. These funds have been added to support local authorities and appear in the table shown in column 569, under "DETR—local government". Nor do the figures include the expenditure supported by the windfall tax on the New Deals for the young and for the long term unemployed, and the New Deal for Schools, all of which is outside the control total shown in the table at column 569.