The chancellor has promised to pump £1.5bn annually into a
new integrated budget for Sure Start, early years and child care by
Announcing the outcome of the comprehensive spending review, Gordon
Brown said an extra 250,000 child care places would be made
available and pledged funding for children’s centres.
The integrated budget will be managed by an inter-departmental unit
based in the Department for Education and Skills under Baroness
Ashton, who has been appointed minister for Sure Start, early years
and child care.
The spending review white paper, Opportunity and Security for
All, also says that the government will pilot children’s
trusts to “unify at the local level the various agencies involved
in providing services to children”. The trusts could include
services for disabled children, children with special education
needs, child protection services, services for children at risk,
speech and language therapy services, and mental health
Other white paper aims are:
- By October 2004 every three and four-year-old will have a
- The Children’s Fund budget is increased by £50m a year to
£200m and extended to 2006.
- Sure Start to be expanded with funding assured for the next
The changes come with a £12.8bn increase in education
spending in England over the next three years. Education secretary
Estelle Morris said the extra cash must deliver “higher standards,
better behaviour, and more choice”.