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Paramount Airways Court Case

Mr. Morley : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the implications of the Paramount court case ; and what changes he plans to the law on receivership.

Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 18 March 1994] : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade made a statement to the House on this issue on 14 March, Official Report, columns 615-16.

Cuba

Mr. Parry : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the trade figures between the United Kingdom and Cuba over the past five years for which figures are available.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 17 March 1994] : The United Kingdom continues to run a trade surplus with Cuba although total bilateral trade was significantly lower in 1993 than in 1992. This reflects the contraction of the Cuban economy following the loss of Cuba's subsidised trading arrangements with the Soviet Union and of the guaranteed markets for Cuba's exports in eastern Europe. The resulting shortage of foreign exchange has led to a significant drop in Cuba's import capacity during 1989-93.

Data on United Kingdom bilateral trade with Cuba are found in the Business Monitor MM20, available in the Library of the House.

Internal Market

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what matters were discussed and what decisions taken at the European council meeting on the workings of the internal market in Brussels on 10 March.

Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 11 March 1994] : I attended the first Internal Market Council--IMC--of the Greek presidency in Brussels on 10 March 1994.

Common positions on proposals on food additives other than colours and sweeteners ; the application of open network provision to voice telephony ; and extraction solvents used in the production of foodstuffs and food ingredients were agreed as A points.

An amendment to directive 83/189 on technical standards and a proposal on equipment for use in explosive atmospheres were finally adopted as A points.

This was a debate on the progress of follow-up work on the Commission's strategic programme for the internal


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market including Commission proposals on administrative co-operation and the management of the mutual recognition of national rules. The Committee of Permanent Representatives--Coreper--was asked to prepare substantive conclusions for discussion at the IMC in June.

The proposed counterfeit goods regulation was remitted to Coreper for further discussion of the legal base.

There was an orientation debate on a proposed regulation to establish the free circulation of novel foods within the single market. The proposal was remitted to Coreper for further detailed work.

The next meeting of the Council is planned for 16 June 1994.

SCOTLAND

Arable Land Payments

Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total paid to farmers in (a) arable aid scheme set-aside payments and (b) total arable area scheme payments in Scotland following the 1993-94 harvest ; and how many farmers in Scotland have received arable area payments of £1 million or more.

Sir Hector Monro : Under the arable area payments

scheme--AAPS--Scottish farmers have received the following aid to date in respect of their 1993 AAPS claims : (a) £15.47 million in set-aside payments ; and (b) £79.09 million in total arable aid. A further £11.5 million in respect of the final oilseeds payment is being issued this week. No Scottish farmer has received more than £1 million of arable aid.

Gaelic

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the totals spent on promoting Scottish Gaelic in each of the last 15 years.

Sir Hector Monro : Government support for Gaelic centres on three areas, specific grants for Gaelic education, Gaelic organisations and Gaelic television. The totals spent in each of the last 15 financial years are given in the table.

Additional public sector financial support for Gaelic includes support by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, local enterprise companies, local authorities and the Scottish Arts Council. Information on the amounts spent by these bodies is not held centrally.


Scottish Office support for Gaelic                                                  

              |Specific     |Gaelic       |Gaelic       |Total                      

              |grants for   |Organisations|Television                               

              |Gaelic                                                               

              |Education                                                            

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1979-80       |0            |60,996       |0            |60,996                     

1980-81       |0            |72,281       |0            |72,281                     

1981-82       |0            |87,517       |0            |87,517                     

1982-83       |0            |101,356      |0            |101,356                    

1983-84       |0            |77,190       |0            |77,190                     

1984-85       |0            |81,050       |0            |81,050                     

1985-86       |0            |121,000      |0            |121,000                    

1986-87       |250,000      |131,000      |0            |381,000                    

1987-88       |300,000      |179,723      |0            |479,723                    

1988-89       |500,000      |208,000      |0            |708,000                    

1989-90       |850,000      |298,000      |0            |1,148,000                  

1990-91       |1,200,000    |306,000      |0            |1,506,000                  

1991-92       |1,500,000    |362,800      |100,000      |1,962,800                  

1992-93       |1,650,000    |814,000      |9,500,000    |11,964,000                 

1993-94       |1,716,000    |879,558      |9,500,000    |12,095,558                 


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Area Tourist Boards

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the reorganisation of area tourist boards in Scotland.

Mr. Lang : I am most grateful to the Scottish tourist board for the work it has done in developing a range of options for the reorganisation of area tourist boards--ATBs--in Scotland. After wide consultations, and within the framework of these options, I have concluded that the needs of Scotland's tourist industry will be best served by a 14-board structure, to be established on 1 April 1996. In order to ensure a smooth transition I intend to appoint the initial members of the new area tourist boards entirely on the basis of nominations from existing boards and from local authorities. The Scottish tourist board will be responsible for advising me on the detailed arrangements for establishing this new network, including the individual schemes which will be required by each of the new boards. In carrying out this responsibility I will require it to collaborate closely with existing ATBs, with existing and shadow local authorities and with the tourist industry generally. Many of those involved in the operation of area tourist boards have put it to me that, in order to meet local needs and retain local loyalties, it will be essential for the new boards to be locally accountable for their operational arrangements. I accept this advice and am asking the Scottish tourist board to pay particular attention to identifying suitable local arrangements in the schemes it works up for individual boards. Here again, it will be required to work in close collaboration with the tourist industry itself.

I am confident that the new 14-board structure will provide visitors to Scotland with a greatly improved service. Our tourist industry will be given a competitive edge by a network which is sensitive to local needs and which delivers the effective marketing called for in the tourism review. A map illustrating the new structure is being placed in the Library. Subject to parliamentary approval the composition of the new boards will be as follows :


Proposed area                    |Proposed new                                   

tourist board<1>                 |councils<2>                                    

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 1. Shetland                     |Shetland                                       

                                                                                 

 2. Orkney                       |Orkney                                         

                                                                                 

 3. Western Isles                |Western Isles                                  

                                                                                 

 4. Highland                     |Highland                                       

                                                                                 

 5. Grampian                     |City of Aberdeen                               

                                 |Aberdeenshire                                  

                                 |Moray                                          

                                                                                 

 6. Tayside                      |Angus                                          

                                 |City of Dundee                                 

                                                                                 

 7. Fife                         |Fife                                           

                                                                                 

 8. Perthshire                   |Perthshire and Kinross                         

                                                                                 

 9. Loch Lomond, Stirling and    |Argyll and Bute                                

Trossachs, Argyll and Bute       |Stirling                                       

                                 |Clackmannan and Falkirk                        

                                 |Dumbarton and Clydebank                        

                                                                                 

10. Glasgow and the Clyde Valley |City of Glasgow                                

                                 |Inverclyde                                     

                                 |Renfrewshire                                   

                                 |East Renfrewshire                              

                                 |East Dunbartonshire                            

                                 |North Lanarkshire                              

                                 |South Lanarkshire                              

                                                                                 

11. Edinburgh and Lothian        |City of Edinburgh                              

                                 |East and Midlothian                            

                                 |West Lothian                                   

                                                                                 

12. Scottish Borders             |The Borders                                    

                                                                                 

13. Ayrshire and Arran           |North Ayrshire                                 

                                 |South Ayrshire                                 

                                 |East Ayrshire                                  

                                                                                 

14. Dumfries and Galloway        |Dumfries and Galloway                          

<1>The exact name of the Board will be a matter for local decision.              

<2>Position following First Scottish Standing Committee's consideration of the   

Local Government, etc. (Scotland) Bill. Boundaries of local authorities lying    

within each ATB may be subject to change during the remaining stages of the      

Bill.                                                                            

Outdoor Education Centres

Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the names, location and county of each of the outdoor education centres in Scotland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.

Health Care International

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give full details of all discretionary grants awarded to Health Care International for the building of its new hospital complex at Clydebank ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what level of Government subsidy has been provided towards the Health Care International hospital in Clydebank.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 8 March 1994] : Details of such assistance are generally treated as commercially confidential. However information about the offer of regional selective assistance made to the company under Section 7 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 was published in the April 1992 edition of the "Employment Gazette", a copy of which is available in the Library.

Land reclamation work was also undertaken on the site by the Scottish Development Agency/Scottish Enterprise. This work was required to deal with the effects of industrial dereliction, primarily asbestos pollution, and to render the site capable of use and was largely undertaken prior to the sale of the site to Health Care International.

School Books

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has regarding the amount spent by each local education authority in Scotland on books in 1993 prices in (a) 1979-80, (b) 1984-85, (c) 1989-90 and (d) 1992-93.


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Mr. Lang [holding answer 14 March 1994] : The available information on education authorities' spending on books and equipment is given in the table. The table shows combined figures for books and equipment in 1984-85 and later years because not all authorities' returns identify separately spending on books in those years.


Expenditure by education authorities on books and     

educational                                           

equipment adjusted to 1992-93 prices using the GDP    

deflator                                              

£,000                                                 

              |1979-80|1984-85|1989-90|1992-93        

------------------------------------------------------

Borders       |38     |349    |353    |1,619          

Central       |726    |3,107  |4,392  |4,438          

Dumfries and Galloway 41,292   1,695   2,817          

Fife          |947    |3,838  |4,419  |5,758          

Grampian      |3,878  |4,538  |7,320  |9,043          

Highland      |528    |2,479  |3,294  |3,860          

Lothian       |2,078  |4,366  |7,377  |10,183         

Strathclyde   |8,344  |19,932 |26,629 |33,133         

Tayside       |607    |2,009  |6,510  |5,794          

Orkney        |186    |265    |142    |166            

Shetland      |81     |310    |688    |723            

Western Isles |143    |362    |550    |979            

Note 1: The figures include expenditure on books and  

educational equipment in local authority schools,     

further education colleges and community education    

establishments.                                       

Note 2: The figures for 1979-80 relate to expenditure 

on text and library books only.                       

Ministerial Receptions

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the cost of receptions held by Ministers in his Department in 1993-94.

Mr. Lang [holding answer 14 March 1994] : The cost of receptions held by Ministers in my Department during 1993-94 was £23,973.

EMPLOYMENT

Training

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of state for Employment (1) if he will show for each region and for Great Britain as a whole, for the latest available period, for all leavers and separately for male and female, for each ethnic group, and for those with a disability or health problem, the number and proportion of employment training trainees who three months after leaving were (a) in a full-time job with their work experience employer, (b) in a full-time job with another employer, (c) employed in their own business, (d) in a part-time job, (e) in voluntary work, (f) on another Government training programme, (g) on a full-time education or training course, (h) unemployed and claiming benefit, (i) unemployed and not claiming benefit, (j) in a job club and (k) doing something else ;

(2) what proportion of respondents to the youth training leavers survey were early leavers showing the reasons for early leaving by percentage ; for each region ; and for Great Britain as a whole, giving information separately for males, females and in total ; (3) how many people have participated in (i) training for work--employment training/employment action--(ii) the business start-up allowance and (iii) youth training in each year since 1987-88 ; and how many people are expected to participate in those programmes and (a) community action and (b) learning for work in 1993-94 and 1994-95 in (1) London, (2) each standard region and (3) Great Britain ;


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(4) if he will give the latest available results from the employment training leavers survey for each training and enterprise council area in respect of employment training leavers who (a) had been entered for a vocational qualification, (b) had obtained a vocational qualification, (c) had failed to obtain a vocational qualification and (d) were awaiting their results ; and how many of the employment training leavers in the relevant period had completed the training agreed in their initial action plan ;

(5) if he will show (a) for London, (b) for each standard region and (c) for Great Britain, the latest information he has on the characteristics of those who have entered training for work in respect of (i) the number of entrants covered, (ii) whether male or female, (iii) duration of unemployment, (iv) ethnic origin and (v) whether they have a disability ;

(6) if he will give for each region and for Great Britain as a whole, the latest information he has on the number and level of national vocational qualifications and Scottish vocational qualifications gained by people leaving youth training in the past year, broken down by (a) ethnicity, (b) disability and (c) gender ; and if he will make a statement ;

(7) what (a) number and (b) proportion of employment training leavers had (a) been entered for a vocational qualification, (b) obtained a vocational qualification, (c) had failed to obtain a vocational qualification and (d) were awaiting their results ; and how many of the employment training leavers in the relevant period had completed the training agreed in their initial action plan in the latest period for which figures are available, giving a breakdown between male and female, by ethnic group and for those with a disability ;

(8) what number and proportion of respondents to the employment training/training for work leavers survey were early leavers showing the reasons for early leaving by percentage, and showing the figures separately for male, female and in total ;

(9) if he will publish tables showing the latest available results from the youth training leavers survey for each training and enterprise council area broken down to show the number and proportion of youth training leavers who were (a) in full-time work with the same employer, (b) in full-time work with a different employer, (c) in part-time work, (d) on a full-time course at a college or training centre, (e) on another youth training scheme, (f) doing something else, (g) who were unemployed, (h) who had obtained a vocational qualification ; and if he will also indicate (i) the number of questionnaires issued, (ii) the usable percentage response rate and (iii) the percentage of respondents who were early leavers ;

(10) if he will give the latest available results from the employment training leavers survey for each training and enterprise council area in England and Wales broken down to show the number and proportion of employment training leavers who were (a) in a full-time job with their work experience employer, (b) in a full-time job with another employer, (c) employed in their own business, (d) in a part-time job, (e) in voluntary work, (f) on another Government training programme, (g) on a full-time education or training course, (h) unemployed and claiming benefit, (i) unemployed and not claiming benefit, (j) in a job club and (k) doing something else ;

(11) if he will show for each region and for Great Britain as a whole, for all trainees and separately for male and female, for the latest available period, the wages


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earned by employment training trainees who three months after leaving were (a) in a full-time job, (b) in a part-time job and (c) self-employed ;

(12) if he will give for each region and for Great Britain as a whole the latest information he has on the characteristics of those who have entered employment training showing (a) the number of entrants covered, (b) whether male or female, (c) duration of unemployment, (d) ethnic origins and (e) whether they have a disability ;

(13) what is the latest information he has on the number and level of national vocational qualifications and Scottish vocational qualifications gained by people leaving training for work in the past year in each region and for Great Britain as a whole, broken down by (a) ethnicity, (b) disabilty and (c) gender ; and if he will make a statement ;

(14) if he will give for each region and for Great Britain as a whole, the latest results of the youth training scheme/youth training leavers survey, to show for all trainees, for male and female trainees and for each separate ethnic group and for those with a disability, (a) those in full- time work with the same employer, (b) those in full-time work with a different employer, (c) those in part-time work, (d) those on a full time course at a college or training centre, (e) those on another youth training scheme, (f) those doing something else, (g) those who were unemployed and (h) those who had obtained a vocational qualification ; and if he will also show (i) the number of questionnaires issued, (ii) the usable percentage response rate and (iii) the percentage of respondents who were early leavers.

Miss Widdecombe : As the information is contained in a large number of tables, I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy in the Library.

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list separately for each region and for London the contractors who have been approved to deliver places in respect of (a) job clubs, (b) restart courses, (c) job plan workshops, (d) community action, (e) employment rehabilitation courses and (f) sheltered workshops and sheltered placements in 1993-94 and the number of places they have been contracted for ;

(2) if he will outline for (a) job clubs, (b) restart courses, (c) job plan workshops, (d) community action, (e) employment rehabilitation courses and (f) sheltered workshops and sheltered placements, the process which is followed in inviting tenders to operate the scheme, the criteria by which successful bids are chosen, the length of contracts awarded and the element of contract funding which is determined by successful outcomes ; how that performance element is assessed ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the questions has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Ms Clare Short, dated 21 March 1994 :

As the Employment Service is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to write to you direct to respond to your Parliamentary Questions about the tendering process which apply to : (a) Jobclub

(b) Restart Course

(c) Jobplan Workshops


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(d) Community Action

(e) Employment Rehabilitation Course

(f) Sheltered Workshops and Sheltered Placements

This is something which falls within the responsibilities he has delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.

It is Employment Service policy that tenders are evaluated to ascertain the economically most advantageous tender taking into account quality, skills, experience, resources and price. The arrangements which apply to (a)-(c) and (e) are set out in the Employment Service Programmes Contract and Tendering Guide and a copy is enclosed for your information. In addition, for Employment Rehabilitation, a copy of the information pack "Employment Rehabilitation--Information for Contractors" is enclosed.

Of these four programmes, only Jobclub relates funding to successful outcomes and the arrangements are outlined in Part Two of the Contracts Guide. One recent change has been made which does not appear in the Guide. The maximum length of a contract has been increased from two to three years to bring programmes in line with contracting arrangements which operate elsewhere in the Employment Service.

For Community Action the contracting process differs from our other programmes in that contracts are for one year and providers are paid a fixed rate of £40 per filled place per week. The contracting process is described in the Community Action Specification and standard contract (copy enclosed). This also lists the criteria used to select successful bids. The primary aim of Community Action is to help long-term unemployed people back into work. No extra funding is available to providers for successful outcomes, though each contract is monitored and we expect a reasonable proportion of participants to leave the programme for jobs, training or other positive outcomes, e.g. education or self-employment.

Turning to Sheltered Employment, the Secretary of State for Employment, approved on 10 March new arrangements which will come into force on 1 April for the funding of Supported Employment (formerly Sheltered Employment). ES officials are in the process of negotiating formal contracts with SE providers for the provision of places in sheltered workshops and in sheltered placements with host employers.

This change will be the first occasion that formal contracts operate within this programme and the contracts are being placed with existing providers of the service. The contracts will formalise existing arrangements and will not be subject to competitive tendering. Formal contracts will clearly spell out the respective responsibilities of the Employment Service and the contractors who provide this service and will enable the ES to negotiate several qualitative and quantitative targets which will form part of the contract.

In your second question about the same programmes and services, you asked for lists of contractors and numbers of places contracted for. The responsibility for contracting in the ES is decentralised and records are not held centrally at the moment. However, a contracts data base is currently being set up which will provide information on Restart Courses, Jobplan Workshops and Community Action providers. This information will be ready in the summer. Formal contracts do not exist for Supported Employment in 1993-94.

I hope this is helpful.

Open Government

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what new detailed information his Department, the Employment Service and training and enterprise councils will be making available to the public under the code of practice on open government ; how people will be able to obtain such information ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Employment Department, Employment Service and training and enterprise councils already answer between them many hundreds of thousands of inquiries each year. The code of practice will reinforce and build on existing arrangements for providing information to the public.


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Career Development Loans

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications for career development loans by unemployed people have been turned down by the banks ; how many unemployed people awarded career development loans subsequently go into full-time employment after completing training ; how many unemployed people have been served with career development loan default notices ; and if he will make a statement.

Miss Widdecombe : Information on the number of rejected career development loan--CDL--applications from unemployed people is not available. The current approval rate for all CDL applicants is approximately 70 per cent.

Follow-up surveys on a 20 per cent. sample of CDL trainees are carried out three months after they have completed their training course. Information from responders to this survey indicates that over 60 per cent. of CDL trainees, who are registered unemployed at the time of taking out a CDL, have a positive outcome to their training at the three-month stage ; 36 per cent. go into full-time employment, 5 per cent. into part-time employment and 10 per cent. into self employment. A further 5 per cent. are waiting to take up an unaccepted job offer and 5 per cent. go on to take further training. Information on the number of unemployed CDL trainees who have defaulted on their loan repayments is not available. However, recent analysis undertaken by the banks of reasons for CDLs defaulting would suggest that of the 1,687 loans defaulted in the current financial year to February, approximately a third were due to unemployment at the end of the course.

Community Action

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have entered community action in total ; and how many were participating in community action in each month since September 1993 (a) for London ; (b) for each standard region ; and (c) for Great Britain.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Ms. Clare Short, dated 21 March 1994 :

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about Community Action.

To the end of February (the latest date for which figures are available) 14,476 people had participated in Community Action. The number of people participating on the last Friday of each month since September for each of our nine regions and for Great Britain as a whole are contained in the attached table.

I am unable to provide the information you request on participants in London as figures are collected regionally.

Early indications show that Community Action is proving to be effective in helping long-term unemployed people into jobs or training.


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Table showing community action occupancy by region at the end of each month since September     

1993                                                                                            

                          |September|October  |November |December |January  |February           

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Northern                  |-        |33       |66       |118      |207      |503                

Yorkshire and Humberside  |-        |73       |286      |436      |730      |1,139              

East Midlands and Eastern |21       |108      |332      |472      |667      |960                

London and South East     |86       |296      |702      |1,239    |2,380    |4,330              

South West                |95       |233      |436      |639      |855      |1,171              

Wales                     |11       |80       |187      |311      |451      |659                

West Midlands             |5        |55       |190      |320      |518      |810                

North West                |36       |215      |440      |633      |909      |1,412              

Scotland                  |21       |104      |237      |399      |561      |1,178              

                          |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------            

Total                     |275      |1,197    |2,876    |4,567    |7,278    |12,162             

Source: Employment Service Regional Offices.                                                    

Young Unemployed (Guidance and Support)

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give further details about the objectives, procedures, benefit penalties and location of the pilot schemes he recently announced to provide more guidance and support to unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds with poor work histories ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Ms Clare Short, dated21 March 1994 :

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the pilot schemes to help unemployed 18-24 year olds back into work.

The Employment Service (ES) is developing two pilots designed to help 18-24 year olds unemployed for a year or more. Each pilot will consist of 10,000 places and will run for a year from April 1994. They are designed to test out new alternative approaches to helping young adults back to work.

One pilot is a four week course designed to provide advice, guidance and jobsearch through group activities. It will run in the following regions : London and the South East, South West, Norther, East Midlands and Eastern and in Scotland.

The second pilot involves placing people on to a caseload operated by an ES adviser. There will be a series of up to six interviews for each client over a six to 12 week period. It will run in London and the South East, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, Wales and the North West.

Participation in both programmes is a requirement for people aged 18-24 unemployed for a year or more who decline or fail to take up all other offers of help at their Restart interview.

If people fail to attend the course when asked they will be interviewed to establish the reason. If a satisfactory reason is not given their details will be passed to a Benefits Agency Adjudication Officer for a decision as to whether a reduction should be applied to their Income Support payment. Individuals can lose up to 40 of their personal allowance for each week they fail to attend. Similar procedures have been in place for some time in relation to Jobplan and Restart Courses.

If people fail to attend a caseloading interview a further invitation to interview letter will be issued. Should they fail to attend on the second occasion their benefit will be suspended and their case referred to adjudication. Normally their entitlement will be reinstated as soon as they do attend an interview. These are the same procedures which have applied for many years for all other interviews with ES advisers.

I hope this is helpful.


Column 54

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment on how many occasions in the last five years he has knowingly provided incomplete information in answers to parliamentary questions other than on grounds of disproportionate cost ; and on what subjects.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Department answers questions on the basis set out in paragraph 27 of "Questions of Procedure for Ministers", a copy of which is available in the Library.

Unemployment

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the note on chart 4A in his booklet produced jointly with the Treasury, "The UK Approach" for distribution at the Detroit G7 jobs summit, that "Definition of unemployment changes slightly through period covered" ; and if he will make a statement.

Miss Widdecombe : The chart in question shows United Kingdom unemployment under two definitions. From 1948 onwards, the United Kingdom unemployment rate represented the number registering as unemployed at employment exchanges and youth employment service careers offices, as a percentage of these registered unemployed plus the total number of employees in employment. These are the rates shown in the chart between 1949 and 1970.

When, in 1982, the Rayner review led to registration becoming voluntary and thereby threatened the integrity of official statistics, the basis of the count was changed to become a count of those claiming unemployment-related benefits at Employment Service local offices.

In order to ensure that this series remains a valid economic indicator, Employment Department statisticians compile a seasonally adjusted claimant unemployment series with a coverage which is consistent with current eligibility criteria. The unemployment rate derived from this series, which goes back to 1971, represents the number of unemployed claimants as a percentage of the claimant unemployed plus employees in employment, self employed, HM forces, and people on work-related Government training programmes. These rates from the consistent seasonally adjusted series appear in the chart from 1971 onwards.


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