The Labour party says the Government has spent Pounds 417 on publicity for every new nursery place created by the voucher scheme.
A parliamentary answer showed that the budget of Pounds 750,000 for information had been overspent by almost 50 per cent. Another answer showed that one-fifth of parents of four-year-olds had not applied for a voucher.
David Blunkett, Labour's education spokesman, said "already the cost of bureaucracy is spiralling. If this experience was replicated in the national scheme, we would be wasting tens of millions of pounds attempting to get people to take up an entitlement which could be granted for free to all those who simply requested a place".