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Mr. Cope : We know of 429 local enterprise agencies operating in the United Kingdom. Of these, 389 are approved under provisions of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 (previously under provisions of the Finance Act 1982) which allows business sector sponsors tax relief on their contributions to such bodies. The local training and enterprise councils announced in the White Paper "Employment for the 1990s" will provide a means for ensuring that the provision of small firms counselling and training relevant to local needs is extended and co-ordinated. I would expect enterprise agencies and others to be able to bid for sub-contracts for counselling, training and enterprise councils themselves. This will rest with training and enterprise councils themselves. This will be an important opportunity for local enterprise agencies.
Mr. Cope : The Training Agency skills unit was established in 1986 to gather, analyse and interpret information on overall skills supply and demand, and disseminate that information to those concerned in training and vocational education. The main focus of its work is changes brought about by new technology, changing work practices and new materials. The skills unit produces a regular skills bulletin, a skills monitoring report, and research reports. Copies are held in the Library. It also provides a reference and library service and mounts seminars, workshops and conferences. Its output is being used by industry and commerce, including chambers of commerce and employers' organisations, by the education service, by training providers, and by other Government Departments.
99. Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends to take to ensure that contractors comply with the law and report deaths, major injuries and three-day accidents to the Health and Safety Executive.
Mr. Nicholls : Inspectors of the Health and Safety Executive will continue to remind contractors of the requirement under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 to report deaths, major injuries and "over three-day" injury accidents to the appropriate enforcing authority. They will continue to take prosecutions for failure to report accidents in appropriate cases.
114. Mr. Simon Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received on changing the balloting rules to be followed by trade unions before industrial action ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : The statutory requirements which must be satisfied if a trade union organising industrial action is to protect itself against legal action by an employer, customer or supplier, or by a member, are set out in part II of the Trade Union Act 1984 as amended by the Employment Act 1988, and in section 1 of the Employment Act 1988. There have been a number of representations, in a variety of forms, about changes to these requirements.
A draft statutory code of practice to promote desirable practices in relation to the conduct by trade unions of ballots on industrial action was published last November. The consultation period on the draft code continues until 3 February. Some representations received on the draft code have also included suggestions for further changes to the relevant primary legislation.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if there are any plans to introduce within the context of the European single market a workers charter, providing for the rights of workers to be involved in discussions regarding mergers and closures of companies.
Mr. Cope [holding answer 11 January 1989] : The staffing levels of the Training Agency, as of other Government organisations, are under constant review in the interests of improving efficiency and effectiveness. The major programmes for which the Training Agency is responsible are for the most part demand led ; and as unemployment falls there may be some reduction in the total staff required.
Mr. Robert G Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the number of children who turn up at hospital because of playground accidents for every month since his Department started collecting figures ; and if he will make a statement about those figures.
Mr. Nicholls : [pursuant to his reply, 9 December 1988, c. 381] : My earlier reply gave details, in a table, of injuries to children 18 years of age or younger as reported to the Health and Safety Executive's factory and agricultural inspectorates. I regret that the table contained an error.
There were no fatal accidents to children in playgrounds other than school playgrounds in 1987-88.
The following table gives the correct figures.
Injuries to children, 18 years of age or younger, reported to the Health and Safety Executive's factory and agriculture inspectorates for years beginning 1 April. 1986-87 1987-88<1> |Fatal |Major<2>|Fatal |Major<2> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Resulting from sports activities in school playgrounds |0 |995 |2 |765 Resulting from indoor and outdoor play activities in school |0 |2,161 |1 |1,234 In playgrounds other than those in schools |1 |87 |0 |84 <1> Provisional. <2> Major injuries as scheduled under the Reporting of Injuries' Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1985 (RIDDOR).
Mr. Flannery : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received regarding the Health and Safety Commission's view on the need for control of young persons' hours of work.
Mr. Flannery : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his policy with regard to the continuation in force of section 74 of the Factories Act restricting the employment of young people on specific operations.
Column 186become more competitive and more viable, and that it would be in a better position to seize opportunities for business if it were in the private sector where it could adopt best commercial practices. My right hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies) on 21 December, at column 331, announced the appointment of Deloitte, Haskins and Sells to advise on the feasibility of such a move. Its terms of reference do not cover the cost of closure of all skillcentres, and we have no plans to ask it for such an estimate.
Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Battersea, Official Report , 22 December, column 465 , what investigations he has made into the non- attendance at restart interviews of 1.5 million out of the 6.5 million called for interview since 1 July 1986.
Mr. Lee : Everyone who fails to attend a restart interview is followed up. Some people do not attend for acceptable reasons--for example, they may have started or be about to start work. However, those people who, after
Column 187two invitations, fail to attend their restart interviews are investigated further to find out their reasons for not attending. If claimants still do not attend an interview without a valid reason their benefits are withdrawn until they agree to attend.