Previous Section Home Page

General Practitioners

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reviews her Department has commissioned of the administrative cost of general practitioner fundholding ; and when she intends to publish the results of those reviews.

Dr. Mawhinney : None. The National Health Service Executive will be reviewing the current system of management allowances for general practitioner fundholders during the summer.

Spongiform Encephalopathies

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what reports she has received from the advisory committee on dangerous pathogens concerning Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ; and if she will place these in the Library ;

(2) what precautions have been introduced for laboratory staff who may be handling materials contaminated with the agents causing (a) Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease and (b) bovine spongiform encephalopathy ;

(3) what guidance she has received from the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies ; when that guidance was received ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : Specific guidance from the advisory committee on dangerous pathogens will be available shortly.

EMPLOYMENT

Youth Training

6. Sir Michael Grylls : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress has been made in the past nine months in improving delivery of the youth training guarantee in England.

Miss Widdecombe : Excellent progress.

Employment Service

Mr. Sykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what were the Employment Service's results against the annual performance agreement set for the 1993-94 year ; and when he expects the Employment Service to publish its annual report and accounts.

Mr. David Hunt : I am pleased to announce that the Employment Service has continued to build on the success of recent years and in 1993- 94 achieved an excellent level of performance against its annual targets. The following table details the ES's performance results against the 1993- 94 annual performance agreement. Overall, the ES placed 1.64 million unemployed people into jobs, of whom 462,200--28.2 per cent.--had been out of work for six months or more and 53,300--3.25 per cent.--were people with a disability ; performance in each case exceeded target. In addition, the ES met or exceeded its targets for promptness of benefit payment, delivering advisory interviews and for claims withdrawn following fraud investigation, and ended a mere fraction--0.1 per cent.--short of its target for benefit accuracy. I am also pleased to announce that for the 1993-94 year and beyond the ES will be publishing fully audited


Column 538

commercial style accounts in its annual report. The ES's annual report and accounts for 1993-94 will be laid before Parliament, as an Act Paper, after the summer recess. In previous years, the ES's annual report and accounts has not been formally laid, and has included only an unaudited cash based financial statement. I am confident that the fuller, commercial-style accounts will serve to emphasise the extent to which the ES delivers value for taxpayers' money.


Target                                          Performance                           

                                                            |(per cent.)              

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

1.47 million unemployed people to be                                                  

  placed into work                             |1.64 million                          

                                                                                      

Of whom:                                                                              

  27 per cent. to be long-term claimants       |462,200     |(28.2)                   

  3 per cent. to be people with disabilities   |53,300      |(3.25)                   

  35 per cent. to be people in inner cities    |580,600     |(35.4)                   

                                                                                      

65 per cent. of starters on Training for                                              

  Work to be from Employment Service                                                  

  referrals                                                 |74.0                     

                                                                                      

87 per cent. of clients due an advisory                                               

  interview to receive one                                  | 92.0                    

                                                                                      

30 per cent. of unemployed people due a                                               

  12 month advisory interview to start on                                             

  a Jobplan Workshop                                        | 45.0                    

                                                                                      

87 per cent. of first benefit payments to be                                          

  despatched on the day that entitlement                                              

  is established                                            | 89.4                    

                                                                                      

96.5 per cent. by value, of Unemployment                                              

  benefit payments to be paid correctly                     | 96.4                    

                                                                                      

9 per cent. of initial claims enquiries not to                                        

  be pursued as new claims                                  | 8.9                     

                                                                                      

63,000 claims to be withdrawn following                                               

  investigation by Employment Service                                                 

  inspectors                                   |67,400                                

Long-term Unemployment, Merseyside

15. Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has for the long-term unemployed men and women on Merseyside.

Mr. David Hunt : The Employment Service and the local training and enterprise councils already offer the widest-ever range of employment, enterprise and training opportunities for long-term unemployed people on Merseyside.

17. Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the transfer of undertakings directive.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : I have had discussions with counterparts from a number of other EU countries concerning revision of the acquired rights directive.

Labour Statistics

18. Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment by how much unemployment has changed in each EU country since January 1993.


Column 539

Mr. David Hunt : Claimant unemployment in the United Kingdom is down by over 300,000 since January 1993, while registered unemployment in the rest of Europe rose by 1.5 million.

19. Mr. O'Hara : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many new full-time equivalent jobs have been created during the past 15 months.

Miss Widdecombe : The Department does not believe that full-time equivalence is a meaningful concept. However, the labour force survey shows that total hours worked rose by 0.6 per cent. over the year to winter 1993.


Column 540

20. Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) men and (b) women, excluding those on training schemes, were in (i) full-time and (ii) part-time jobs in June 1979 and at the latest date for which figures are available ; and in how many standard planning regions the number of jobs has increased for (1) men and (2) women, considering part-time and full-time separately.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The information requested is provided in the table :


Column 539


Employees and self-employed: Great Britain (thousands)                                                       

                                        Male                          Female                                 

                                       |Full-time|Part-time|Total    |Full-time|Part-time|Total              

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

June 1979                              |-<1>     |-<1>     |14,762   |-<1>     |-<1>     |9,805              

September 1984                         |12,716   |919      |13,635   |5,574    |4,205    |9,779              

March 1994                             |11,602   |1,292    |12,895   |5,986    |5,165    |11,151             

Number of regions where employees have                                                                       

  increased (September 1984 to March                                                                         

  1994)                                |-<1>     |-<1>     |0        |10       |11       |10                 

<1> Not available.                                                                                           

Mr. Keith Hill : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been unemployed for (a) more than one year and (b) more than two years in (i) Greater London and (ii) the Streatham parliamentary constituency ; and what were the corresponding figures for each year since 1979.

Miss Widdecombe : Information on the levels of claimant unemployment by duration is available from 1983, on the unadjusted basis only, for the months of January, April, July and October. It can be obtained from the NOMIS database in the Library.

Mr. Allason : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what the unemployment figures are for Devon for May 1994 ; and what percentage change they represent on the figures for May 1992.

Miss Widdecombe : Unadjusted claimant unemployment figures in the county of Devon stood at 44,405 in May 1994, a fall of 1.6 per cent. since May 1992. However, between May 1993 and May 1994, unemployment fell by over 11 per cent.

28. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of unemployed people in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : In May, seasonally adjusted claimant unemployment stood at 2,661,000, a fall of 258,000 on a year ago.

21. Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are currently unemployed in the Basildon constituency ; and what was the figure one year ago.

Miss Widdecombe : Between May 1993 and May 1994 unadjusted claimant unemployment in Basildon fell by 959 from 6,500 to 5,541.

Unemployment 23. Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the major European countries where unemployment is on a clear downward trend.


Column 540

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Only the United Kingdom.

24. Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the current levels of unemployment in the United Kingdom textile and paper and board industries.

Miss Widdecombe : The estimates from the winter 1993-94 labour force survey are that there were 29,000 unemployed people--on the International Labour Organisation definition--who last worked in the textiles and textile produces industry and 17,000 unemployed people who last worked in the manufacture of pulp, paper and paper products industry.

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how the level of unemployment among younger men has changed during the past 12 months.

Miss Widdecombe : In the United Kingdom between April 1993 to April 1994, unadjusted claimant unemployment among 18 to 24-year-old men fell by 73,435--13 per cent.

Modern Apprenticeships

22. Mrs. Angela Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement about the progress of his new apprenticeship initiative in the east midlands.

Miss Widdecombe : Four training and enterprise councils in the east midlands are at the forefront of the development of modern apprenticeships.

25. Mr. Peter Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the Government's modern apprenticeship scheme.

Miss Widdecombe : Employers have given an overwhelmingly positive response to the challenge set by modern apprenticeships, and prototypes are due to be in place by September.


Column 541

Public Services (Privatisation)

26. Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends to take in response to the decision of the European Court of Justice that the British Government are in breach of European law by failing to ensure adequate worker representation in the privatisation of public services.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Government are considering the judgment.

OECD Report

27. Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had on the recent Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development report with colleagues in the EU ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : I have discussed the OECD report with colleagues on several occasions, in particular at the ministerial meeting in Paris on 7 June. There has been strong support for its conclusions. The report makes it clear that flexible skills and working practices are a crucial factor in reducing unemployment ; and that statutory minimum wages and excessive non- wage labour costs reduce employment prospects, particularly for young people.

Women's Issues Working Group

29. Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how regularly the women's issues working group meets ; and if he will make a statement.

Miss Widdecombe : The women's issues working group meets three times a year. It is a personal advisory group chaired by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State which considers some of the obstacles encountered by women in their working lives, and advises on ways to overcome them. It currently has 14 members.

Restart

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many claimants have (a) lost and (b) suffered a reduction in benefit because of (i) their failure to turn up to a Restart interview and (ii) their failure to adopt the course of action advocated at their interview, in each year since Restart began ; (2) how many claimants have (a) lost unemployment benefit and (b) suffered a reduction in supplementary benefit or income support because of their failure to satisfy the availability for work rules for each year since 1974.

Mr. David Hunt : I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Library.

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many people are currently on the Restart programme ;

(2) if those people on Restart programmes are included in the official unemployment statistics.

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.


Column 542

Letter from A. G. Johnson to Mr. Gerry Steinberg, dated 28 June 1994 :

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Questions about the numbers of people currently on the Restart Programme and whether they are included in the official unemployment statistics. I am replying in the Chief Executive's absence. It may help if I explain that Restart is not a programme but a series of regular six monthly interviews with an adviser, for people who have been unemployed for six months or more. These interviews provide clients with the opportunity to discuss their situation, consider the options available and agree a course of action which, if taken, will offer the best prospects of finding a job. Advisers also make sure that clients understand and continue to meet the conditions for receipt of benefit. The number of Restart interviews that have taken place in 1993-94 is 2,800,000. The clients involved are included in the official unemployment statistics.

For those people who are still unsure about which course of action to take, Restart Courses are available. These are designed to give participants a more in-depth opportunity to assess their strengths and skills and become aware of local opportunities available to them in planning steps back to work. The courses also provide guidance and help in job search.

In the 12 months from April 1993 until March 1994 over 143,000 people started on a Restart Course. From April this year 22,000 have started on a course.

Participants remain on the unemployment register and continue to receive normal unemployment benefits whilst attending the course. They are, therefore, included in the official unemployment statistics. Fares to and from the course are also paid.

I hope this is helpful.

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list the numbers attending Restart interviews for each year since 1986 and the outcome of these interviews for each year in question ;

(2) how many benefit reductions have been made each year since section 20 of the Social Security Act 1975 has come into force.

Mr. David Hunt : I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Library.

Training and Enterprise Councils

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment which TECs currently offer extended child care places to children aged five years and over outside normal school hours and during school holidays ; and how many places each TEC has available.

Miss Widdecombe : From April 1994, all training and enterprise councils will be making grants available to help establish new after-school and holiday-care places under the Government's out-of-school child-care initiative. A total of 50,000 new places are expected to be created across Britain by March 1996.

In 1993-94 a limited number of TECs ran the initiative. Latest available figures in the following table show the number of places notified by each TEC as created up to March 1994.


Cumulative places created by March 1994     

                        |Quarter 4          

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

England                 |4,019              

                                            

Heart of England        |0                  

Kent                    |164                

Milton Keynes           |0                  

Thames Valley           |248                

AZTEC                   |40                 

London East             |24                 

North London            |58                 

South Thames            |133                

Bedfordshire            |168                

Hertfordshire           |555                

Norfolk and Waveney     |144                

Avon                    |24                 

Devon and Cornwall      |181                

Dorset                  |0                  

Gloucestershire         |64                 

Somerset                |41                 

Wiltshire               |62                 

Central England         |126                

Coventry                |292                

Hawtec                  |24                 

Shropshire              |60                 

Walsall                 |52                 

Greater Nottinghamshire |0                  

Leicester               |0                  

Lincolnshire            |0                  

North Nottinghamshire   |80                 

Humberside              |96                 

Sheffield               |222                

Rotherham               |92                 

Calderdale/Kirklees     |55                 

METROTEC                |90                 

Rochdale                |140                

South and East Cheshire |211                

CEWTEC                  |4                  

Cumbria                 |136                

ELTEC                   |16                 

County Durham           |80                 

Northumberland          |52                 

Teeside                 |40                 

Tyneside                |245                

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) black and (b) Asian people serve on each TEC ; and if he will make a statement.

Miss Widdecombe : Information on the ethnic origin of training and enterprise council board members is provided voluntarily by the TECs. The following table shows that there are 38 TEC board members of ethnic origin on the board of 28 TECs. This information may not give the complete picture of the ethnic origin of TEC board members. TECs are private companies and are responsible for the composition of their own boards.


Number of TEC board members of ethnic origin                                  

Training and                            |Number                               

Enterprise Council                                                            

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

Avon                                    |1                                    

Bedfordshire                            |2                                    

Birmingham                              |3                                    

Bolton/Bury                             |1                                    

Calderdale/Kirklees                     |1                                    

CAMBSTEC (Central/South Cambridgeshire) |1                                    

CILNTEC (City and Inner London North)   |1                                    

Coventry and Warwickshire               |1                                    

Greater Nottingham                      |1                                    

Greater Peterborough                    |1                                    

Hampshire                               |1                                    

Hertfordshire                           |1                                    

Leeds                                   |1                                    

Leicestershire                          |2                                    

London East                             |1                                    

Manchester                              |1                                    

Milton Keynes and North Bucks           |1                                    

North London                            |3                                    

North West London                       |3                                    

Oldham                                  |1                                    

Rochdale                                |1                                    

Rotherham                               |1                                    

Sandwell                                |1                                    

Shropshire                              |1                                    

SOLOTEC                                 |2                                    

South Thames                            |2                                    

Walsall                                 |1                                    

Wolverhampton                           |1                                    

                                        |-------                              

Total                                   |38                                   

Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many civil servants in his Department took early retirement on being seconded to work for a training and enterprise council.

Miss Widdecombe : None. While on secondment working for a training and enterprise council, all departmental staff remained employees of the Department.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 18 May, Official Report column 505, what information was given to the chairman of the training and enterprise councils, concerning the rights of civil servants seconded to the TECs to be eligible for the voluntary early retirement scheme and pertaining to their permanent employment with those TECs after completion of their secondment period.

Miss Widdecombe : Training and enterprise councils were told that the early retirement schemes were not meant for secondees who intended taking up TEC employment.

Child Care

Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement about the out-of-school child care initiative ; and what are his future plans for the initiative.

Miss Widdecombe : The out-of-school child care initiative was piloted in 40 training and enterprise council areas in 1993-94, leading to the creation of over 4,000 after school and holiday places. From April 1994 to March 1996, the initiative will be delivered by every TEC, and we hope to create up to 50,000 new places across Great Britain.

European Employment Legislation

Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had with the European Commission about the implementation of EU employment legislation in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Community's agenda must now be focused on creating jobs rather than destroying them through unnecessary employment regulations. The United Kingdom is playing a leading part in efforts to improve Europe's competitiveness in this and other ways.


 

  Home Page