§ Maria Eagle
I have been asked to reply.824W
Following the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 15 July, a single inter-departmental Unit responsible for both Sure Start and Early Years and Child Care programmes has been established, accountable for delivery to the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Work and Pensions. My Noble Friend Baroness Ashton the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for Sure Start, Early Years and Child Care is lead Minister for the work of the new Unit and a member of the Ministerial team of both Departments.
The new Unit will have a £1.5 billion budget, including more than doubling Child Care spending, by 2006. Its work will include: reforming local and national infrastructure and simplifying funding; establishing a network of Children's Centres, providing integrated Child Care, early education, family and health services for up to 650,000 children in disadvantaged areas by 2006; and creating at least 250,000 new child care places by that date, on top of the existing target of creating new places for 1.6 million children by 2004.
The report of the child care review, "Delivering for Children and Families", was published on 6 November. A copy is available in the Library.