To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much he plans his Department will spend on extending the universal early years education entitlement to 15 hours per week in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement.
I have been asked to reply.
The extension of the free entitlement will enhance the opportunities available to every three and four year old, giving them the best possible start in life. Providing 15 more flexible hours will also ensure that families are able to use the entitlement in a way which best helps them to balance work and family life.
The Government invest more than £3 billion per year in the existing entitlement. In addition, the extension to the free entitlement is being funded through a new investment of £590 million over 2008-11 (£80 million in 2008-09, £170 million in 2009-10 and £340 million in 2010-11.
Funding beyond 2011 will, of course, be a matter for future spending reviews.