The Government has guaranteed free pre-school places for all four-year-olds and, by 2004, all three-year-olds whose parents want them but only on a part-time basis.
In response to a question by Labour MP Helen Jackson, Mrs Hodge said the Government estimates that two-thirds of three and four-year-olds now have either full-time or part-time nursery places.
Of these, 32 per cent are in the private and voluntary sector, 4 per cent attend independent schools and 30 per cent are enrolled in maintained nursery schools or nursery classes within a primary school.
Compiled by Jon Slater from Hansard
PQs can be found at www.parliament.uk