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Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans his Department has for ensuring that unemployed people who wish to start their own businesses have an equal opportunity to do so following the placing of the business start-up scheme in the single regeneration budget.
Mr. Paice: Support for unemployed people who wish to start their own business will continue. The single regeneration budget projects recently approved will provide over 18,000 start-up opportunities. Training and enterprise councils are being encouraged to take advantage of arrangements which allow people in training for work to pursue self-employment and TECs may fund further start-up help through their own reserves. We also continue to contribute to the work of the Prince's Youth Business Trust which helps young people set up in business through the provision of grants and/or loans.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what powers are available to local authorities and to other agencies to regulate the storage, use and installation of liquefied petroleum gas cylinders (a) generally and (b) for use in permanent domestic central heating.
Mr. Oppenheim: The storage of 25 tonnes or more of liquefied petroleum gas requires consent from the hazardous substances authority-- usually the local planning authority--under the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990.
By virtue of its powers under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, the Health and Safety Commission has introduced the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 to control, among other things, the storage, use and installation of liquefied petroleum gas, both generally, and for use in permanent domestic central heating.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what responsibility suppliers of liquefied petroleum gas have towards purchasers of the product concerning its safe installation and use.
Mr. Oppenheim: The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 place duties on a gas supplier. Duties under the regulations include a requirement that liquefied petroleum gas storage tanks be sited in such a manner that they can be safely used, filled and refilled.
Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress there has been with the national development agenda; how much money out of the total budget for 1994 95 has been spent; and if he will make a statement on its evaluation and plans for the future.
Mr. Paice: The 1994 national development agenda described key objectives towards which the Department's support for the development of the vocational education and training system is being directed. Examples include the standards programme, and action to encourage employers to see training as an investment.
There is no single budget for national development. The work is funded from a range of individual budgets voted for particular purposes. At 31 December 1994 £15.6 million had been spent out of available funds of £40.2 million for the current financial year. Progress is being made in all the areas covered by the national development agenda, with a wide range of projects contracted. It is a requirement that all projects are evaluated, and that where appropriate there should be evaluation of the performance of linked groups of projects.
The results of evaluation form an important part of the Department's dissemination activity for national development work. Project outputs are disseminated widely to relevant audiences through conferences, seminars, publicity and promotional events, reports and other publications.
For the future, a second edition of the national development agenda is planned for publication in February, taking account of the developments announced in the 1994 White Paper "Competitiveness: Helping Business to Win".
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the range of likely costs to public funds which will result from closure of and redundancies of providers at South Thames TEC.
Mr. Paice: I do not expect that any closures or redundancies will lead directly to costs to public funds. Consequential costs, for example any calls upon the national insurance fund, are not possible to estimate.
Mr. Paice: It is urgent to settle the arrangements for training and enterprise council coverage in London for 1995 96. I have today invited CENTEC to put proposals to me on how it would exercise the full range of TEC responsibilities in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, and SOLOTEC in the London boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham, from the start of the 1995 96 contract. In the light of the views expressed about the future arrangements in the South Thames area, I expect this to lead to calls for a wider review of London TEC boundaries, and in particular to consideration of a central London TEC covering a broader area. I look forward to hearing the views of London TECs and other London interests on those issues in due course.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing for each region in the united Kingdom the number of vacancies in jobcentres that were (a) temporary and (b) permanent in each quarter since December 1990.
Mr. Bernie Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 24 January Official Report , column 184 , if the recruitment process for United Kingdom-based European Commission staff, including job advertisements, is subject to (a) the Race Relations Act 1974 and (b) the Sex Discrimination Acts.
Mr. Oppenheim: No. The staff regulations of officials of the European Communities, which form part of a regulation made by the Council of the European Communities under the EC treaties, provide that an official may be appointed only if he or she is a national of a member state. However, the regulations also require that, subject to the nationality condition, officials be selected without reference to race, sex or creed.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people and what percentage of the labour force in each region for the United Kingdom as a whole were classified as being in temporary employment in each year since 1979.
Mr. Oppenheim: This information is not available as a consistent series from 1979. However, a consistent series for 1984 onwards is available from the labour force survey and can be obtained via the Quantime LFS service available in the Library.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what number of students work (a) full-time and (b) part-time in the food service industry; and what were the comparable figures for each year since 1989 .
Number of students<1> working in the food service industry (000's) in Great Britain |Full-time|Part-time ------------------------------------------ Spring 1989 |- |82 Spring 1990 |- |104 Spring 1991 |- |100 Spring 1992 |- |118 Spring 1993 |- |112 Spring 1994 |- |132 Summer 1994 |- |119 Source: Labour force survey-not seasonally adjusted. Notes: -Less than 10,000 in cell; estimate not shown. <1> Includes full-time students only.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his latest estimate of the total sum of money paid out under the provisions of the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979; and what has been the number of beneficiaries.
Mr. Oppenheim: As at 31 December 1994, total expenditure under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 amounted to around £38.1 million. Some 5,700 people have received a payment under the Act.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement about the issuing of work permits to Japanese nationals, and on complaints made by employees of Quick Corp., London branch, 65 Clifton street, London EC2, about the overseas labour service section at his Department.
The Department has not received complaints from employees of Quick Corp., London branch about the overseas labour service. OLS officials are considering representations from former employees of Quick Corp. about work permits issued to Japanese nationals employed by the company.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide estimates for the total amount that has been paid to N. M. Rothschild and Sons Ltd. with respect to any work undertaken by it on privatisation programmes in which his Department has been engaged since 1979 after taking account of inflation.
Column 601(2) if he will make a statement about the financial status of the London and south-east region of the Employment Service;
(3) if he will make a statement about the London and south-east region of the Employment Service;
(4) if he will make a statement about the level of achievement in the inspection service of the London and south-east region of the Employment Service in relation to its annual performance agreement; (5) if he will make a statement about redeployment of staff across the London and south- east region of the Employment Service and the reasons for it;
(6) if he will make a statement about staffing in the London and south-east region of the Employment Service.
Miss Widdecombe: 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 D. Grover to Ms Harriet Harman, dated 31 January 1995:
The Secretary of State has asked me, in the absence on leave of the Chief Executive, to reply to your questions about the London and South East Region (Region) of the Employment Service (ES).
Unemployment within the Region has fallen by almost 15% during the twelve months to December 1994. Indeed, in some locations such as Andover in Hampshire, the fall has been almost 35% Such falls indicate that the economy is in much better shape and, in part, reflect the success of ES initiatives to help people back into employment.
Falling unemployment means that the ES, whose staff deal directly with the payment of benefits as well as offering job and other opportunities, has experienced a fall in the number of people using its services. ES managers have reacted swiftly to these changes to ensure that they are staffed to meet need and that taxpayers' money is not wasted. Inevitably, at a time of falling unemployment, this has led to a reduction in staffing levels.
As regards staffing, you will appreciate that the ES receives funding for staffing on the basis of need, i.e. the level of unemployment. Falling unemployment means that we now need less staff and can anticipate lower staffing levels for the financial year ahead. We need to manage our budgets and staffing levels to meet this new need. There are over 300 Jobcentres across the Region and unemployment is falling at differing rates at particular locations, so balancing staffing levels to need is a particularly challenging task. It has been necessary to redeploy staff between offices and between functions to ensure that a balance is maintained between staffing levels and the needs of our clients. Inevitably, staff have undertaken work in different areas of ES activity in the short term to meet short term need.
The response to these changing needs from ES staff has been commendably high, as you will note from our continuing performance in the delivery of services to our customers. As regards finances, in the nine month period from April to December 1994, the Region had spent £267.1 million or 73.8% of its annual budget.
Performance across all areas of our business is strong. The help offered to unemployed people continues to increase; the Region has placed almost 380,000 people in employment (April December 1994) and I estimate that this figure will have increased to approaching 500, 000 people by the end of March. Over one in three of these placings are long-term unemployed clients. At this point in time, the Region are 12% above their unemployed placings target in this area. Indeed, in almost every area of work, the Region are ahead of their targets and continue to offer an improved service to jobseekers.
As regards the Inspection Service in the Region, as at December 1994 its targets for the full operational year (to April) for authorised prosecutions and claimants withdrawing claims had already been almost matched or exceeded.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment on how many occasions departmental officials met representatives of Ian Greer Associates (a) formally and (b) informally on 26 January to discuss matters relating to their clients' interests.
Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many relatives of serving diplomats are currently employed by the Overseas Development Administration as consultants.
Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many positions in the United Kingdom's overseas aid programme were filled from the Overseas Development Administration's own register of available personnel for each year since 1979; how many were advertised in the media; and how many were filled by outside recruitment agencies and consultancies.
Mr. Baldry: Information about the method of recruitment of the many thousands of overseas aid personnel appointed since 1979 is not available centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list each training and tuition course with a total cost exceeding £5,000 paid for by (a) his Department and (b) his agencies during the last 12 months, showing the title and objectives of each course, the name of the organisations engaged, the total cost of each course, a summary of the responsibilities of staff members taking part and the process for course evaluation by his Department or agency.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will provide estimates for the total amount that has been paid to N.M. Rothschild and Sons Ltd. with respect to any work undertaken by it on privatisation
Column 603programmes in which his Department has been engaged since 1979 after taking account of inflation.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on how many occasions departmental officials met representatives of Ian Greer Associates (a) formally and (b) informally on 26 January to discuss matters relating to their clients' interests.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: Officials in the Department for which I am responsible did not meet representatives of Ian Greer Associates either formally or informally on 26 January to discuss matters relating to their clients' interests.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out for each of the next steps agencies in his Department, whether they have acquired their own headquarters buildings and, if so, at what purchase cost or annual rental; how many support staff they have required which were not required when their operations were within his Department; how many of them published periodical journals and at what annual cost; how many have fleets of executive cars or single executive cars and at what annual cost; how many have specially designed logos and at what cost; how many have corporate clothing and at what cost; and what is the cost of specially designed and printed corporate stationery.
Mr. Heseltine: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 17 January, Official Report, column 400. Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the chief executives of the nine agencies for which my Department is responsible. I have therefore asked Mr. John Hobday of the Account Services Agency; Mr. David Durham of Companies House; Mr. Peter Joyce of the Insolvency Service; Dr. Richard Worswick of the Laboratory of the Government Chemist; Mr. William Edgar of the National Engineering Laboratory; Dr. Peter Clapham of the National Physical Laboratory; Dr. Seton Bennett of the National Weights and Measures Laboratory; Dr. Paul Hartnack of the Patent Office; and Mr. Jim Norton of the Radiocommunications Agency to arrange for answers to be given. Letter from W. Edgar to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 31 January 1995:
Parliamentary Question No. 180
The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your question relating to various items of expenditure incurred by NEL as a Next Steps Agency. NEL has not acquired its headquarters building. Since achieving agency status it has reduced from 13 to 5 the number of principal buildings it uses. Since achieving agency status NEL has reduced its support staff by about 43%. The only periodical journal published by NEL is its annual report which, unlike its pre-agency status annual report, is also used as a marketing document. Pre-agency there were two vehicles which could have been described as executive cars now there are three, the additional annual cost being £7900 per annum. All of the vehicles are available for general laboratory duties as required. NEL uses the same logo as it has had for almost 40 years. The number of staff issued with
Column 604corporate clothing has been reduced from 7 to 2 since NEL became an agency. There have been no costs incurred in the special design of stationery. As is normally the case, the stationery has been updated from time to time to add the symbols associated with the additional quality accreditations obtained by the establishment, no special design costs were incurred in incorporating these additions. I trust you will find the above information to be satisfactory for your purposes.
Letter from Jim Norton to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 31 January 1995:
The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your question about certain Agency expenditure and resource requirements.
The Agency has not acquired a new headquarters building as a result of becoming an Agency. The Agency will be moving to a new building in Docklands later this year since the lease on Waterloo Bridge House is about to expire.
The Agency has 15 staff carrying out support functions which have been delegated to the Agency by the Department.
The Agency issues a number of periodical publications, including the Annual Report, at a total annual cost of £120k.
The Agency does not have any executive cars.
The design of the Agency corporate logo cost £5k.
The cost of corporate clothing is £12k per annum.
The cost of Agency stationery in 1994/95 will be around £80k. However this is no increase on the equivalent DTI stationery. Letter from Peter Joyce to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 31 January 1995:
The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your Question about the costs of a number of Insolvency Service operational matters.
The Service has not acquired any separate headquarters buildings since it was established as an agency in March 1990: both its London and Birmingham headquarters share buildings with Official Receivers' offices: its Edinburgh Disqualification Unit, set up prior to March 1990, shares a building with the Scottish Office.
There has been a continuing process of delegation of support functions previously undertaken by central divisions of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI): the effect on overall resources, so far as I have been informed, has been neutral--any additional resources have been at least matched by reductions in central divisions' staffing.
The Service is required to publish an Agency Annual Report: the publication cost for the last Report (1993 94) was some £13,000. It does not have or use executive cars. Its logo was designed in-house using ideas from staff: the cost was negligible. It does not have corporate clothing for any of its staff. It does not use specially designed and printed stationery beyond the incorporation of its logo on its letters etc, which is automatically produced by the word processing software, and where appropriate its corporate colour on its publications, replacing the DTI logo and colour. Letter from Seton Bennett to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 31 January 1995 :
The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply on behalf of the National Weights and Measures Laboratory to your question about expenditure in Next Steps agencies.
Prior to becoming an agency, NWML occupied a single building, part of DTI's estate, for which rent was paid. These arrangement were not been affected by NWML becoming an agency in 1989. The annual rent for the building is £239,000.
NWML currently has the same number of support staff as it had before it became an agency. The additional administrative duties associated with being an agency have been absorbed within the existing allocation of staff.
Between 1 April 1993 and 31 March 1994, NWML spent £8245.67 on publications distributed to UK industry and Local Authorities. Executive Cars
No NWML staff have executive cars. Prior to becoming an agency, NWML owned one pool car. Since becoming an agency it has disposed of the car and replaced it with a lease arrangement for a smaller car. Logos
The agency has not spent any money on logo design.
The agency has spent £1414.52 on corporate clothing (150 ties, 50 scarves and umbrellas) since 1989.
NWML has not changed the design of letterheads, compliment slips or business cards as a result of becoming an agency. Its expenditure on these items in 1993 94 was £2,310.58 which is approximately the same annual expenditure as before becoming an agency.
Letter from R. D. Worswick to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 24 January 1995:
The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply in respect of the Laboratory of the Government Chemist (LGC) to your Parliamentary Question (No. 180) about certain costs incurred by Next Steps Agencies in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The position on the points you raise is as follows:
(i) LGC has not acquired any of its buildings. It has occupied premises, including its main laboratory, which form part of the DTI's estate at Teddington since 1988 (when it relocated from central London) and pays an annual rental to Property Holdings;
(ii) as a result of organisational and operational changes which have affected LGC since it became an Executive Agency in 1989 it is not possible to give a precise response to the changing requirements for support staff over the past five years or so. The Laboratory's total support staff has risen from a complement of 64 in 1989/90 to a total of 67 in the current financial year. This increase reflects the considerable additional administrative responsibilities which the Laboratory undertakes. A range of tasks previously carried out by DTI centrally are now covered by LGC's Human Resources, Accounts and Finance and IT Groups and a Business Development Group has been set up during this period. A Strategic Research Unit (five staff) to support our scientific activity has recently been created but this is not included in the figures for support staff above;
(iii) the Laboratory publishes an Annual Report and Accounts, and produces on average two issues of the Government Chemist bulletin a year. The cost of these in 1993/94 was approximately £30k;
(iv) the Laboratory has no executive cars;
(v) the Laboratory first used a logo in 1978/79 on headed stationery, publicity material etc. The design work was carried out within DTI;
(vi) the Laboratory has a long standing policy of issuing clothing to staff primarily for health and safety reasons (in some instances as a statutory requirement) e.g. laboratory coats and gloves, external site working equipment such as helmets, boots and overalls. In addition staff in the Laboratory's Post Room are issued with uniforms including safety shoes. The total cost of these items in 1993/94 was approximately £7k;
(vii) the cost of stationery (including letterheaded paper which incorporates an LGC logo) to the Laboratory in 1993/94 was approximately £4k.
I hope this meets with your requirements.
Letter from Dr. Peter Clapham to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 31 January 1995:
The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your Question concerning the cost of building etc., used by Next