HC Deb 26 February 2004 vol 418 c543W
Mr. Willis

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what sources of funding will be made available to fund Removing Barriers to Achievement; and if he will make a statement. [156067]

Mr. Miliband

"Removing Barriers to Achievement" sets out our long-term plans for working in partnership with local authorities, early years settings, schools and the health and voluntary sectors to improve provision for children with special educational needs.

The Strategy contains a programme of sustained action and review over a number of years. The Government have invested significant sums in education with a real terms increase of over 25 percent. since 1997. Total estimated gross expenditure on pupils with SEN for 2003–04, including estimated spending on centrally funded SEN activities is almost £3.5 billion—as reported by local education authorities in February 2004 as part of their Section 52 Budget Statements. The SEN Strategy focuses on getting the best value for money and using those substantial resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. At national level, improving provision for children with special educational needs will be integral to our existing and developing national strategies and programmes. Similarly, the work set out in the Strategy which is designed to build our evidence base, develop and test out different approaches and spread best practice will also be funded from within existing resources.

Decisions on resources for all areas of public spending from 2006–07 onwards will be taken later in the year as part of the Government's Spending Review.