HC Deb 06 February 2002 vol 379 cc987-8W
Mr. Breed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) of 27 November 2001,Official Report, column 859W, on the Rural White Paper, what proportion of the announced funds and schemes, broken down by category, has been spent to date during 2001–02. [33778]

Alun Michael

For 2000–01, £80 million has been allocated to local education authorities through the small schools fund, including those covering predominantly rural areas. Information on actual expenditure of the small schools fund for 2001–02 is not available. Local education authorities will return monitoring forms in May, which will give a broad indication for the 2001–02 financial year.

In 2001–02, £30 million has been allocated (by means of a formula) under the rural policing fund to the 31 rural police authorities. Forces are expected to include in their best value annual policing plan information on how they expect to spend or have spent the additional funds. The Home Office do not routinely keep information on how much has been spent in any financial year—it is a matter for each individual police authority.

The £2 million Government fund to support volunteer and community initiatives to maintain or reopen post office facilities in rural areas came into operation in September 2001. Since then just over £29,000 has been spent on five initiatives.

The child care figure of 8,728 new places refers to the financial year between April 2000 and March 2001. From April 2001 to September 2001 Cornwall, Devon, Durham and Lincolnshire partnerships have reported the creation of 4,804 child care places. Figures for October to December are not yet available.

For 2001–02 £62 million has been allocated to improve rural bus services. Up until the end of January £28.8 million had been spent on Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and £8.8 million on Rural Bus Challenge. I understand that the DTLR expect to spend a total of £60 million by the end of the financial year.

The new Countryside Agency Grant schemes have spent the following up until 31 December 2001: Community Services Grant £597,000; Parish Plans Fund £143,000; and Parish Transport Fund £80,000.

Information on expenditure and assistance to date on market towns is not currently available.