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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.
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. 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the ES met or exceeded its targets for promptness of benefit payment, delivering advisory interviews and for claims withdrawn following fraud investigation, and ended a mere fraction--0.1 per cent.--short of its target for benefit accuracy.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 538commercial 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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 542Letter 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. 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
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. 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 : 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.
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.