Sure Start (York)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Children, Schools and Families – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 26th July 2007.

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Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Children, Young People and Families; Minister for the North West), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Children and Youth Justice) (and Minister for the North West) 10:30 am, 26th July 2007

I am glad that in her question, the hon. Lady recognises, as she has not done before, that the private sector plays an important and substantial role in the development of children's centres. The scheme is far from being about state provision: the child care offered by 58 per cent. of children's centres is provided not by the state but by the private sector. As she says, that is the case in the New Earswick centre, which is to be designated this autumn. That applies, too, to the free entitlement for three and four-year-olds. We want to retain that mixed economy; overall, we think that it is a great strength. We want local authorities to support private and voluntary providers and to sustain their provision.

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