§ Bob Spink
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to ensure that funds made available to(a) private and (b) local education authority nursery education and care providers are (i) ring-fenced and (ii) passed in their entirety to providers; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Margaret Hodge
From April 2003, all funding for free early education places was consolidated within the general education formula spending arrangements for LEAs and schools. We have no plans to make further changes. The over under-fives sub-block is currently worth some £2.6 billion. It is for individual local authorities to determine, in the light of local consultation, what proportion of the overall resources should be delegated to schools and the rate at which private, voluntary and independent providers should be funded for delivering a free nursery education place. According to the latest available (January 2003) data some 50 per cent. of three year olds and 23 per cent. of four year olds take up their free entitlement with private, voluntary and independent providers.