HC Deb 15 March 1999 vol 327 cc489-90W
Mr. Maclean

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the savings resulting from the abolition of the nursery voucher scheme. [74785]

Ms Hodge

The nursery education voucher scheme was replaced in September 1997 by local Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships and Plans which, from September 1998, have guaranteed a free, part-time early education place for all four year olds, for the three terms before compulsory school age, for those parents who want one in the maintained, private or voluntary sectors. The savings which accrued have been allocated to fund the establishment of a pilot scheme of 25 Early Excellence Centres by 2001, of which 17 have already been announced. From September 1999, additional funding will be provided to expand early education places for three year olds.