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Government Information (Access)

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to state which exemption of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information is being invoked to prevent the release of information in answer to parliamentary questions. [40873]

Dawn Primarolo: Treasury Ministers would expect to explain the reasons why information could not be provided in answer to parliamentary questions.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) pursuant to his answer of 6 March 1998, Official Report, column 817, which exemption in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information makes publication of the correspondence inappropriate; [40870]

Dawn Primarolo: Exemptions 1 and 2 apply.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many answers to parliamentary questions his Department has declined to provide information because it was inappropriate under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information since 1 May 1997; and what subjects those questions concerned. [40867]

Dawn Primarolo: Treasury records show that in the case of some 19 of the 3,500 or so parliamentary answers given by Ministers in the present Parliament the information sought was not made available as is permitted under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. These questions concerned such matters as individuals' tax affairs, personal information relating to officials, representations made to Ministers in confidence on commercial and other matters and internal discussions and advice on various policy issues.

Additionally, Treasury Ministers have traditionally declined to disclose in advance information relating to the Chancellor's Budget statement. In innumerable other instances, statistical and other information either is not available or cannot be presented in the form requested.

Civil Registration Records

Mr. Todd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he will take to improve access to historic registration records. [41349]

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he has for allowing free public access to the records of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths. [41341]

Mrs. Liddell: I refer to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) on 7 May 1998, Official Report, column 455.


Mr. Wigley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date the Office for National Statistics first proposed that Cornwall should be considered as a NUTS 2 area in its

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own right for Eurostat purposes; and on what date his Department notified Eurostat that such a unit should be considered for structural fund purposes. [41106]

Mr. Geoffrey Robinson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Dafydd Wigley, dated 12 May 1998:

    I wrote to Eurostat on 30 June 1997 with proposals for a new NUTS structure for the UK, which included the designation of Cornwall as a separate NUTS-2 area. Those proposals are still being discussed between Eurostat and the Government Statistical Service.

    The consideration of any areas for Structural Funds purposes is not a matter for the ONS or for Eurostat.


Mr. Townend: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 26 March 1998, Official Report, column 278, if the Financial Secretary will in future keep a record of the number of letters sent to hon. Members which are not personally signed. [38186]

Dawn Primarolo: Treasury Ministers see no need to maintain such a record.


Staff Car Mileage Allowance

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what percentage of the staff of all grades employed by his Department were eligible to claim a car mileage allowance on 31 March in each year since 1990; [40435]

Dr. Howells: The information requested is available only at disproportionate cost.

Further and Higher Education

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the average number of years of full-time equivalent post-school specialist learning provided per head of population for the age group 16 to 25 years in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) other EU countries. [41105]

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Dr. Howells: An average 1 of 2.7 full-time equivalent years are spent studying in UK further and higher education institutions, between the ages of 16 and 25. If post-compulsory school-age studies in a school setting are included, this increases to 3.4 full-time equivalent years. Comparable information is unavailable for other EU countries.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the average cost per head per year of full-time education in (a) the higher education sector and (b) the further education sector. [41099]

Dr. Howells: In 1996-97, the average funding for teaching and research per full-time equivalent per year was £4,700 in the higher education sector. In the further education sector the unit funding, for teaching only, was £2,920. Figures are presented at 1996-97 prices.

Standard Assessment Tests

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage, to three decimal places, of all year 2 (a) pupils, (b) boys and (c) girls, attained (i) Level 2 or better, (ii) Level 3 or better, (iii) Level 4 or better and (iv) Level 5 or better in the Key Stage 1 English SAT tests for (1) reading, (2) writing and (3) English, in each local education authority area; and what was the national average level attained per pupil and by each gender in (A) 1996 and (B) 1997. [38160]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 7 April 1998]: The full information is not available in the form requested.

Child Care

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what assessment his Department has made of the likelihood of individuals offered training in childcare, as part of the New Deal, achieving sufficient qualifications to work in that intended capacity for local authority social services or education departments; [41528]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Young people on the New Deal for 18-24 year olds, who wish to train to work with children, can work towards an NVQ level 3 childcare qualification during their New Deal placement, if their previous experience and qualifications are appropriate. If they gain an NVQ level 2 or 3 qualification, this will help them find employment whether in the voluntary sector, private sector or with a local authority. There is currently no formal requirement within the Children Act 1989 that childcare workers should have qualifications, but, in

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registering a provider, the authority will look at the range of experience, qualifications and maturity of the person concerned and any other staff.

In some areas, individual local authorities have introduced, through their discretionary powers, requirements of registration to the effect that providers must either have, or be working towards, certain qualification levels. This should not, however, prevent childcare providers, including local authorities, from employing these young people under supervision, after their New Deal placement ends. Moreover, the local New Deal partnership may be able to arrange for the young person to work towards an NVQ level 3 qualification, after their New Deal placement ends, as part of the New Deal 'follow through' strategy. This could be arranged through the Training and Enterprise Council, using funding from the employer, or other sources--for example, the Single Regeneration Budget and the European Social Fund.

We are not in a position to predict the proportion of young people on New Deal who train to work with children who will thereafter work for local authorities, nor the number who will gain NVQ level 3 qualifications with employer support after their New Deal placement ends, as this will vary according to individual and local circumstances.

The Department and the Department of Health recently issued a consultation paper on the regulation of early education and daycare. The consultation paper outlines the Government's intention to introduce more consistent regulatory standards across different sectors and localities. We have also asked the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the relevant National Training Organisations to look at qualifications for childcare and early years workers.

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he will publish the Green Paper on Child Care Strategies. [41654]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Our Green Paper on the national child care strategy will be published shortly. This will set out the broad principles of the strategy covering the whole of the United Kingdom and detailed proposals for England. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Wales and for Northern Ireland will be publishing in due course their own documents on implementation of the strategy in those countries.

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