ALMOST £15m has been allocated to Hampshire nurseries to help two-year-olds from hard-up families.

Ministers promised that from next year, 20 per cent of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds will be guaranteed 15 hours a week of early education.

The Government has already announced that it plans to extend the free nursery scheme to two-year-olds – and today the allocation for each area is revealed.

Southampton is getting £3.4m, Hampshire £10.3m and the Isle of Wight £1.2m. The money will be handed to local authorities, to pass on to schools, nurseries and childminders.

The Government said that two-year-olds who were at poor-quality nurseries were “no better off than those who stay at home”.

The free spots will be at places deemed “good” and “oustanding” by Ofsted. Councils that do not persuade parents to take up the offer will lose cash in future.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that the money would “make a huge difference to hard-pressed families”.