§ 30. Sir Sydney Chapman
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on pre-school provision. 
§ Mr. Butterfill
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what representations he has received on the number of pre-school places. 
§ Ms Hodge
Since September 1998, all four-year-olds have been able to access a free, part-time, early education place. By September 2004 all three-year-olds will also be able to access a free place.
We are making £986 million available over the years 2001–02 to 2003–04 for the provision of free places for three-year-olds, and other early years initiatives. By March 2001, some 50 per cent. of three-year-olds nationally will have access to a free early education place. We are making a further 80,000 new places available in 2001–02 which will increase to 66 per cent. the number of three-year-olds accessing a free place by March 2002.
Total expenditure on nursery education will have increased by £1 billion, to £2 billion, over the period from 1996–97 to 2003–04.