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Chancellor set to announce rise in free nursery places

29 Nov 11 - 11:14AM  | Social Care/Work

Chancellor George Osborne is set to announce that more than 250,000 toddlers are to be given free nursery or childcare places.

In an effort to encourage more mothers into work, Mr Osborne will detail a £650 million scheme to provide free "early education" for about 40 per cent of two year-olds.

Three and four-year-olds are presently entitled to 15 hours of nursery education for 38 weeks of the year.

But under the new scheme, which is to be outline in the chancellor's Autumn Statement, the entitlement will be extended to around 260,000 two year-olds.

As well as hoping to encourage more women back to work after giving birth, the chancellor will say that he is determined to help narrow the country's growing social divide.

Distributed by local authorities, the money will be specifically targeted at disadvantaged families.

Despite this, Mr Osborne is expected to tell MPs that his plans to tackle Britain's debts may take at least a year longer he previously suggested.

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