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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many jobs in each category of the Standard Industrial Classification there were in the North East (a) on 1 January 1997, (b) on 1 January 2000; and how many are estimated for 1 January 2001. 
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the stock of businesses was in each category of the Standard Industrial Classification in the North East (a) on 1 January 1997, (b) on 1 January 2000 and (c) the estimate for 1 January 2001. 
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Ms Jowell: There are no figures available for jobs created in the Greater London area, as there is no requirement for employers to notify any agency when they recruit staff for a new job. However, a set of figures called the "Civilian Workforce in Employment" published by the Office for National Statistics estimate that up to September 2000, there were 68,000 more people employed in Greater London than there were in September 1999.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what funding is paid by his Department in the current financial year to the London Borough of Wandsworth for the development of nursery school provision. 
Ms Hodge: We are making £2.82 million available to Wandsworth in 2000-01, through specific nursery education grant, for the provision of free early education places for three-year-olds. In 2001-02, Wandsworth will be allocated £2,050,488 for the creation of 1,726 three-year-old places, as a result of which all three-year-olds in Wandsworth will be able to access a free place if their parents want one.
The Government have also made £67,945 nursery capital funding available to the local education authority from the New Deal for Schools to improve and expand early years services, together with £38,916 to maintained nursery schools to enable them to extend the services they offer.
There is £9.532 million in the under-5s Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) sub-block that is available to support spending by Wandsworth on nursery provision in 2000-01. Nationally, £122 million has been transferred to SSA for 2001-02 to cover payments for early education places for four-year-olds currently made to local
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education authorities through Nursery Education Grant. In 2001-02, £10.709 million will be available to Wandsworth in the under-5s sub-block to support spending on nursery provision, including provision of early education places for four-year-olds.
The funding we are making available to Wandsworth is part of our overall commitment to the early years which includes, for the first time, provision of free early education places for three-year-olds across all sectors. All three-year-olds in England will be able to access a free early education place by September 2004.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list for (a) 1992-93, (b) 1993-94, (c) 1994-95, (d) 1995-96, (e) 1996-97, (f) 1997-98, (g) 1998-99, (h) 1999-2000 and (i) 2000-01, (I) his Department's total spending on quantitative and qualitative surveys of policy issues by focus groups, opinion polling, task forces or other means and (II) the cost of each individual project. 
Mr. Blunkett: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Lifelong Learning on 5 June 2000, Official Report, column 142W, and the reply I gave on 27 July 2000, Official Report, column 853W.
The Government want to hear what people affected by them have to say about proposed new policies. This is an important aspect of the Modernising Government initiative. Public opinion research is, though, subject to the usual strict rules that spending must represent good value for money for the taxpayer and must not be used for party political purposes.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what funding is available for playgroups from (a) the early years initiative and (b) other sources; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Hodge [holding answer 23 January 2001]: Since 1997-98, overall early education funding made available by the Government through the Standard Spending Assessment and Nursery Education Grant, has increased by almost £400 million. This has enabled some 120,000 new, free early education places for three and four- year-olds to be created. These places are available in a range of settings, including private or voluntary pre-schools and playgroups as well as local education authority-maintained nurseries, nursery classes and reception classes.
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
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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. Playgroups, along with other early education providers, will benefit from this expansion. No authority will have less than about 40 per cent. of free early education places for three-year-olds in its area in 2001-02.
The Neighbourhood Childcare Initiative will create child care places in 900 Neighbourhood Nursery centres. £203 million is available over the period 2001-04 to enable all sectors to develop new, or extend current, provision and the Government also intend to make up to £100 million available in lottery money from the New Opportunities Fund to help meet capital costs. This will enable existing playgroups to extend their provision to full day care.
Support is also given to the pre-school playgroups sector in various other ways. In the current year, we are giving grants totalling £2 million to the Pre-school Learning Alliance (PLA), to which the majority of pre-schools are affiliated. This funding supports the PLA's training infrastructure and other activities undertaken by their national headquarters and regional bases.
£500,000 is being made available this year for grants to voluntary pre-schools and playgroups facing financial difficulties. Grant applications are currently being assessed. A total of £1.75 million has been made available for such grants over the three years 1998-2000. In the first two years of the scheme, grants were made to 1,500 pre-schools and playgroups.
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