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Sir Ralph Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the effect of the provision in the Jobseekers Bill regarding penalties in respect of leaving employment after three months on the willingness of jobseekers to remain in employment.
Miss Widdecombe: Unemployed people should be encouraged to try work that may be unfamiliar to them. The employment on trial rule therefore exempts certain claimants from sanction if they take a job and then give it up within a specified period. We regard it as important that this incentive should apply at the point at which claimants are expected to consider work outside their usual occupations. For this reason, in jobseeker's allowance the rule will apply after three months' unemployment, which is the maximum permitted period during which search for jobs can be restricted to the claimant's usual occupation.
Mr. Robert Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total value of grants received from the European Commission for training schemes and advice to companies and individuals in the last financial year.
Miss Widdecombe: Much of the largest source of European Community grants for training schemes and advice on training is the European Social Fund. In the last financial year, 1993 94, ESF grants totalling £528 million were received by training providers and others in Great Britain.
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what Government structures exist to review the implementation of the UN's Nairobi forward-looking strategies for the advancement of women; and what such review has taken place and been published.
Miss Widdecombe: The Cabinet sub-committee for women's issues is responsible for reviewing and developing Government policy on issues of special concern to women, and for overseeing its implementation. The Employment Department has responsibility within Whitehall for co-ordination of policy on women's issues, including the Nairobi forward-looking strategies.
In preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women to be held in Peking in September 1995, UN member states report on progress in the key areas of the Nairobi forward looking strategies. The UK's national report was published at the beginning of October. The report has been widely distributed and copies are available in the Library
Miss Widdecombe: Government policy is to integrate consideration of women's issues into policy development, rather than have specific "women's units". A large number of policy officials therefore have responsibility to ensure that women's concerns are properly taken into account. In addition, many departments have equal opportunities units within their personnel sections, which promote equality of opportunity regardless of sex, race and disability. It is not possible to disaggregate the exact numbers of such staff devoted to equal opportunities for women.
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what Government structures exist to review the implementation of the UN convention on the elimination of discrimination against women; and what such review has (a) taken place and (b) been published.
Miss Widdecombe: The Cabinet sub-committee for women's issues is responsible for reviewing and developing Government policy on issues of special concern to women, and for overseeing its implementation. The Employment Department has responsibility within Whitehall for co-ordination of policy on women's issues, including the convention for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Since ratifying the convention in 1986, the Government have submitted two progress reports to the United Nations, in 1987 and 1991. Both these reports were
Column 700published. A third report is currently being prepared, and will become freely available in March 1995.
Miss Widdecombe: The group's current membership is set out in the following table. The group has met twice since January 1994. Women's Issues Working Group Membership, December 1994 The Rt. Hon. Michael Portillo, MP
Secretary of State for Employment
Miss Ann Widdecombe, MP
Minister of State for Employment
Ms Kamlesh Bahl
Chairwoman, Equal Opportunities Commission
Mrs. Kay Coleman OBE
Chief Executive, Harveys & Co (Clothing) Ltd.
Baroness Denton of Wakefield CBE
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office
Ms Sheila Forbes
Director of Human Resources, Reed Elsevier (UK) Ltd.
Dr. Ann Hogg
Chairman of Council, Girls' Public Day School Trust
Chairman, Business in the Community's Women's Economic Development Team, Chairman, Broadcasting Standards Council
Mr. Graham Millar
Managing Director, Nestle Foods Division
Mrs. Cecilia Motley
Former Director, Action Resource Centre
The Hon. Mrs Lindy Price CBE
Chairman, Powys Health Care NHS Trust
Mrs. Sue R▀rstad MBE
Chairman and Managing Director, Poppies (UK) Ltd
Mrs. Margaret Seymour
Managing Director, Seymour Swimming Pool Engineers
Ms Sue Slipman, OBE
Director, National Council for One Parent Families
Mrs. Joan Smyth
Chair and Chief Executive, Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the figures for employment in the construction industry for each year since and including 1989, broken down into employees and self- employed.
Employment in the construction industry: Great Britain, spring of each year, not seasonally adjusted |(Thousands) Year |Employees |Self-employed|Total ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1989 |1,210 |895 |2,105 1990 |1,237 |889 |2,126 1991 |1,154 |812 |1,966 1992 |1,067 |739 |1,806 1993 |988 |727 |1,715 1994 |991 |775 |1,766 Source: Labour Force Survey
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposed reduction in housing association investment on employment prospects in the construction industry.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many inspections were carried out by the Health and Safety Executive in each of the last five years in each category of premises inspected.
Mr. Oppenheim: Information about the number of planned inspections carried out by the Health and Safety Executive in each of the last five years is published in the Health and Safety Commission annual reports for 1991 92, annex 5 and 1993 94, annex 2, copies of which are available in the Library. A breakdown for each category of premises inspected is not available.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) men and (b) women together with the overall total, were in full-time employment (i) in each standard region and (ii) in Great Britain in December in each of the last 10 years; and in each case and for each year what proportion this figure represented as a percentage of the total population.
Mr. Oppenheim: The information can be obtained from the NOMIS database, which is available in the Library. However, the full-time, part- time regional breakdown should not be used prior to June 1991 as the information is invalid.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide available information on the proportion of people who (a) leave the register within three months, (b) leave the register to enter a job within three months and (c) leave the register to become economically inactive within three months and have been unemployed for (i) six months, (ii) one year and (iii) two years.
Mr. Oppenheim [holding answer 12 December 1994]: It is estimated that about half of all people who become claimant unemployed leave the count within three months and two thirds within six months. Information is not routinely available on the destinations of those leaving claimant unemployment but past surveys indicate that the
Column 702majority of people go into jobs. Information on those who leave the count within three months of reaching certain duration thresholds is given in the following table: