§ Mr. Bob Russell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on (1) the Government's recommended level of spending on education in Essex and the actual level of expenditure for each of the last four financial years; 
(2) if he will make a statement on the Government's recommended level of spending on education in Essex and the figure set by Essex County Council for the financial year 1998–99. 
§ Mr. Byers
Government support for education spending is provided mainly through the education SSA system but these are not recommended levels of expenditure. Information derived from the authority's General Fund Revenue Account returns suggests that Essex has spent above the level of its education SSA in recent years. For 1998–99, we believe that Essex County Council should use all of the £27 million increase in the education SSA to raise standards in schools.227W
£ million Education SSA Education spend 1997–98 571.8 582.8 1996–97 567.6 573.5 1995–96 540.5 548.6 1994–95 548.5 549.6
1. Year-on-year comparisons cannot easily be made because of local authority changes of function.
2. The Education Spend figures include a share of net revenue expenditure which cannot be attributed to individual service SSA blocks and capital expenditure charged to the revenue account.