§ Chris Grayling
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children were benefiting from nursery vouchers in 1997. 
§ Margaret Hodge
In April 1997, 576,176 four-year-olds received a free, part-time, early education voucher as a result of the Nursery Voucher scheme. However, this did not necessarily guarantee a place.
Since September 1998, local education authorities have had a statutory duty to secure a free, part-time, early education place for all four-year-olds.
Furthermore we have increased the number of free, part-time, early education places for three-year-olds from 34 per cent. in January 1997 to 66 per cent. in March 2002. So in 2001–02, 924,742 number of three and four-year-olds received a part-time, early education place.