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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Departmental Environmental Policies

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what is the current energy consumption of her Department; what targets have been set to reduce this level; and what plans there are for including energy efficiency performance figures in her Department's annual report. [50089]

Clare Short: The latest year for which figures are available is 1996-97. The total cost of delivered energy was £212,925. In kwh equivalent terms, this amounted to 5.648 million kwh of North Sea oil, 2.963 million kwh purchased from the relevant electricity utility, and 8,020 litres of gas oil. The Department is following the targets set centrally of aiming to reduce energy consumption in 2000 by 20 per cent. from the 1990-91 outturn. Our energy performance is included in the central returns on energy efficiency on the Government estate maintained by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of her Department's waste is recycled; and what targets there are for increasing this figure. [50090]

Clare Short: The only form of waste on which we keep figures is paper sent for recycling. In 1997-98, we recycled 31 tonnes. This figure has been broadly the

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same for the past three years. We have no explicit targets. However, the Department monitors paper usage and encourages its recycling.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Training

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the effects that the introduction of three-year public spending limits will have on the establishment of a funding regime for work-based youth training which enables TECs to enter into longer term contracts with training providers. [49951]

Dr. Howells: We have not yet had the opportunity to assess the effects of the three-year public spending limits on the way Government contracts with TECs. However, we will be considering this issue fully as part of the review of the role of TECs and their funding arrangements which is currently under way.

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage of national TEC expenditure has been allocated to (a) youth training and (b) training for the long-term unemployed. [47040]

Dr. Howells: In 1998-99, the DfEE's planned expenditure on programmes contracted with TECs in England is £1.287 billion of which 56 per cent. (£723m) is for work based training for young people and 25 per cent. (£324m) is for work based training for adults.

Youth Services

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to establish a clearer statutory base for local authority youth services in order to safeguard levels of these services. [50575]

Dr. Howells: The Green Paper The Learning Age reaffirmed the Government's commitment to placing the youth service on a stronger statutory footing. A consultation paper will be issued later this year which will consider the role of the youth service, in relation to wider services for young people.

New Deal

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage of those called to initial interviews under the New Deal have not attended; and what the percentage was in each travel-to-work area. [47091]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 24 June 1998]: During May 1998 the number of 18-24 year olds who have ceased to claim JSA before attending their initial interview is 6 per cent. nationally. This will include young people who have found work or decided to claim another benefit.

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what analysis he has undertaken of the 18-24 year olds on the New Deal programme who are not accounted for when they finish the Gateway. [49429]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 7 July 1998]: The Jobseekers Act 1995 lays no obligation on people to report what they are doing once they have signed off state

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benefits. I asked the Employment Service to undertake follow up of the young people who have left the New Deal Gateway for unknown destinations. The outcomes of this follow-up have been published in the Department's press notices of 27 May and 25 June. I have also asked for the very thorough evaluation survey of participants that will take place later to obtain detailed evidence about what happens to this group. So far, of New Deal entrants, only 4 per cent. have left and cannot be accounted for. In the first nine months of Project Work pilots, a quarter of entrants had left for unknown destinations.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much money has been spent promoting, launching and monitoring and marketing the New Deal initiative in the Christchurch constituency. [48817]

Mr. Andrew Smith: It is not possible to break down this expenditure information by constituency. The provisional amount spent nationally on New Deal for 18-24 year olds for 1997-98 is £36 million. The majority of this amount represents expenditure incurred centrally in supporting the early implementation of the New Deal. A final figure will be available by the end of August. The New Deal is financed from the receipts of the Windfall Tax on the privatised utilities. Expenditure is planned over the Parliament as a whole and unspent resources in any single year are available for spending on New Deal in future years.

The estimated cost for 1998-99 is £594 million, and for 1999-2000, £675 million. New Deal is demand led and actual provision for any particular year will be decided in the light of the level of unemployment and experience gained in running New Deal.

The above figures are for Great Britain and reflect the cost of New Deal for young people to the Department for Education and Employment.

Science Students

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to improve the availability of science, engineering and technology higher and further education to women in rural areas. [47513]

Dr. Howells: Our proposals for encouraging lifelong learning for people throughout the UK, including rural communities, are set out in the consultation paper "The Learning Age". Higher education is available in England from over 100 higher education institutions, including the Open University, and from many further education colleges. The Further Education Funding Council has a duty to secure the provision of adequate and sufficient facilities for further education.

The University for Industry will break down barriers to learning by making provision more flexible and accessible. It will offer rural learners the opportunity to access information and advice, register on courses, access support from tutors and work at their own pace, using the most suitable methods at home, in the workplace or at local learning places.

In addition, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget statement, on 17 March 1998, Official Report, columns 1097-1112, an extra £50 million funding for rural transport

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services--mainly additional bus services--which will enable more young people in rural communities to access post-16 provision.

Playgroups

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the Government's policy regarding (a) the provision of and (b) the funding of playgroups. [47858]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 1 July 1998]: The Government value the contribution pre-schools and playgroups can make to early education, day care and the continuing training and development of adults. Many playgroups receive Government funding in respect of eligible four year olds attending their groups. The Government already give an annual grant of £1.2 million to the Pre-school Learning Alliance. In addition, we announced on 6 May that £500,000 would be made available to help good-quality voluntary groups in danger of closing. Pre-school groups will also be able to benefit from the £6 million allocated for extra childcare places integrated with early education.

Grammar Schools

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the maximum number of eligible parents per child who can be permitted to vote in a ballot on the status of grammar schools. [50484]

Mr. Byers: The proposals follow the procedures adopted by the previous government for ballots on the question of grant-maintained status. This means that there is not a maximum number of eligible parents.

Job Clubs

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many job clubs were operating in (a) June 1997 and (b) June 1998. [50483]

Mr. Alan Howarth: 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 Leigh Lewis to Mr. Damian Green, dated 14 July 1998:



    There were 911 Jobclubs operating nationally in June 1997, but I am unable as yet to supply the comparable figure for June 1998. However, June figures should be available later this month for the total number of Jobclubs and other programmes we are providing in all locations and I will write to you again as soon as this information becomes available.


    I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful at this stage.



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