HC Deb 20 January 1999 vol 323 cc501-2W
Ann Keen

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has for implementing the Sure Start strategy. [67089]

Ms Jowell

Sure Start is a vital element in the Government's work to increase opportunity and create equal chances for young children and their families in disadvantaged areas. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and I are taking forward the Government's £452 million strategy to establish at least 250 local Sure Start programmes in England over the next three years.

We are announcing today the first 60 trailblazer districts for Sure Start. In identifying them we have taken into account evidence of significant local deprivation and existing good practice; and a wish to see Sure Start principles taking root quickly in all regions, in different types of area and in places where they can complement other Government initiatives to regenerate communities and tackle social exclusion.

The trailblazer districts will play a major role in making Sure Start a reality. Each will identify one catchment area appropriate for a local Sure Start programme, and bring together an inclusive partnership responsible for making a formal application for Sure Start funding to improve and extend services in that area. Expressions of interest from the 60 districts are invited by 9 February and full applications by 19 March. Applications will not compete against each other. We are providing a team of expert advisers to help local partners prepare them, and they will be approved if they meet various criteria, including the inclusion of all the key partners at local level and effective demonstration of the key principles underpinning Sure Start.

We expect the first trailblazers to be up and running later in the year. They will help develop Sure Start, its implementation and evaluation, and act as mentors for subsequent programmes. More Sure Start districts will be announced in due course.

Further information and guidance on Sure Start is being published today to support trailblazers in their work. Copies will be placed in the Library.

The 60 trailblazer districts are:

  • Barrow-in Furness
  • Birmingham
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Bradford
  • Brent
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Bristol
  • Camden
  • Copeland
  • Corby
  • Derby
  • Doncaster
  • Enfield
  • Fenland
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Greenwich
  • Hackney
  • Halton
  • Haringey
  • Hastings
  • Kingston-upon-Hull
  • Kirklees
  • Knowsley
  • Lambeth
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Luton
  • Manchester
  • Mansfield
  • Middlesbrough
  • Newcastle
  • Newham
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • North Tyneside
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Oldham
  • Oxford
  • Penwith
  • Plymouth
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Rotherham
  • Salford
  • Sandwell
  • Sedgemoor
  • Sheffield
  • Southampton
  • Southwark
  • St. Helens
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Telford and Wrekin
  • Thanet
  • Thurrock
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wealden
  • Wolverhampton.