HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 cc749-50W
Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) for what Sure Start areas incidences of low birthweight and teenage pregnancy have been selection criteria; [95541]

(2) what geographical size of area can apply for Sure Start funding; [95514]

(3) how the areas applying for Sure Start funds are assessed against each of the three selection criteria; and what weight is given to each of the three criteria in the selection process. [95513]

Yvette Cooper

I have been asked to reply.

The 60 areas of the country invited to develop a Sure Start programme in the first round were selected because they scored highly on an index of local deprivation, already had existing local projects which demonstrated many of the key aspects of Sure Start, and provided an opportunity for Sure Start to develop in a range of different settings. Local partners decided on the Sure Start catchment area within their district.

Guidance on the choice of area, including its size, is in the booklet, "Sure Start: a guide for trailblazers" which is available in the Library. Becoming a Sure Start programme is not a competitive process, and no further assessment is made centrally provided the catchment area chosen is consistent with the guidance.

Incidences of low birthweight and teenage pregnancy were factors in the criteria for selection of all 60 areas since, along with the index of local deprivation, these are factors which point to areas where children's needs are pressing.

Ms Harman

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list for each of the Start Trailblazers, how many new child care places for children aged 0–5 years will be created in(a) playgroups, (b) child minders and (c) nurseries as part of the Sure Start Programme. [95170]

Yvette Cooper

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not currently available. However, we will get regular data from programmes once they are running on the total number of children and families helped against milestones set in their delivery plans. The 60 trailblazer programmes are producing delivery plans for approval for Ministers. Each programme is required to ensure access to good quality play, learning and child care for young children.