§ Mr. Paterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make additional funds available to compensate for the costs of supplying services to special needs children in sparsely populated rural areas. 
§ Mr. Timms
The overall settlement for 2002–03 is a good one: over £1.3 billion extra in Education Standard Spending Assessments; a further increase in Standards Fund grant of almost £160 million; and an increase in the direct grant for schools of 2.75 per cent. We believe that this settlement provides sufficient resources to cover the costs of supplying services to special needs children in sparsely populated rural areas.
However, we are currently working up a new funding system for introduction in 2003–04. As part of that work we are taking account of the costs associated with sparsely populated areas.