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Climate Change Levy

Mr. Bill Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress there has been in discussions with industry regarding the impact of the Climate Change Levy. [95953]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government have had extensive discussions with industry about the impact of climate change levy, which was announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget Statement on 9 March 1999, Official Report, columns 173-90.

The Government have made clear that they wish to design the levy in a way which maximises its environmental benefit while seeking to protect competitiveness. They have been concerned to develop the best possible understanding of business's perspective in discussions over recent months, in order to inform their decision on the levy for the Finance Bill 2000.

The Government have said that they recognise the special circumstances of energy intensive sectors of business in this context including their energy usage and exposure to international competition. The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) has been leading the discussions with a number of key trade associations representing energy intensive sectors to develop negotiated agreement. Under these agreements, sectors which are to be subject to Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regulation would earn significantly reduced rates of the climate change levy in return for commitments to targets for energy efficiency and/or emissions reduction. The DETR has been conducting detailed negotiations with an initial ten trade associations. Some initial offers of targets have now been made. The period for these discussions has been extended from mid-October to 20 December in order to give the trade associations more opportunity to consult their members.

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Gas-powered Electricity Generation

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications to construct gas-powered electricity generating plants are awaiting consent. [95813]

Mr. Caborn: Currently there are 35 proposals involving gas-firing before the Department (a mixture of CCGT, CHP and other) awaiting a decision. Decisions on these will be taken in accordance with the policy set out in the White Paper entitled 'Conclusions of the Review of Energy Sources for Power Generation and Government response to fourth and fifth Reports of the Trade and Industry Committee' (Cm 4071), and announced in due course.


New Deal (Over 50s)

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the progress of the New Deal for the over 50s. [96391]

Ms Jowell: The New Deal 50plus has been introduced this week in the following nine areas of the country: Durham; Dorset; Oxfordshire; Black Country; North Derbyshire; Manchester--City Pride; Hull; North East Wales; and, Edinburgh, East and Midlothian. The programme will be introduced throughout the UK in Spring 2000.

Basic Skills Agency

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he proposes to undertake a review of the Basic Skills Agency. [96392]

Mr. Wicks: The Government have a policy of conducting five-yearly reviews of all non-departmental public bodies. As the Government are the major contributor to the funding of the Basic Skills Agency, we believe that the Agency should be subject to comparable

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review procedures. Since the last review of the Agency was in 1994, the Department has commissioned a new review of the Agency.

I am placing in the Library a copy of a letter to Sir Claus Moser, Chairman of the Basic Skills Agency, setting out further details of the review, including its terms of reference.

Age Diversity in Employment

Ms Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the impact of the Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment (June 1999) on reducing age discrimination in the workplace. [95950]

Ms Jowell: The Code was launched barely four months ago and it is therefore too soon to make a full assessment of its impact on age discrimination in the workplace.

The effectiveness of the Code is being evaluated through a large-scale research project looking in detail at its impact on employer policies, attitudes and practices. Specific topics to be covered include recruitment, selection, promotion, training, redundancy and retirement. The results of the evaluation will be published in early 2001.

Windfall Tax (New Deal)

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what amount and percentage of the proceeds of the windfall tax allocated in the 1998 Budget report [HC620] to (a) the New Deal for 18-24 year-olds, (b) the New Deal for the long-term unemployed, (c) the New Deal for lone parents and (d) the New Deal for the sick and disabled, for expenditure during the 1998-99 financial year were (i) spent during that year and (ii) carried forward for future years, giving reasons for any underspend. [95086]

Ms Jowell: The table shows the amount of windfall tax set out in the 1998 Budget Report allocated to the Department for Education and Employment, for the New Deal programmes shown, in 1998-99 together with expenditure and carry forward.

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£ million
Expenditure (5)
Programme1998-99 AllocationAmountPercentageCarry forward
New Deal for young people53418935345
New Deal for long term unemployed1141210102
New Deal for lone parents(6)17171000
New Deal for disabled(6)52403

(5) Expenditure excludes a total of £82 million spent out of existing Departmental provision

(6) New Deals for lone parents and the disabled are programmes operating jointly between the DfEE and DSS and figures given are those for DfEE only

(7) £103 million of which was returned to the windfall tax reserve

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To some extent, underspends resulted from the timing of submission by contractors of their invoices for services provided to the New Deal. In addition, the numbers of people entering New Deal programmes were lower than had earlier been projected on the basis of the Government's unemployment assumption at the time.

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Finally, the success of the New Deal for young people itself contributed to underspends.

The programme aims to help as many young people as possible to leave its Gateway for jobs. The original planning assumption was that 60 per cent. would need to

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move on from the New Deal Gateway into one of the four options. The Gateway performed much better in 1998-99 and some 55 per cent. of entrants were leaving New Deal without needing to move first into an option. Fewer young people into options has the effect of reducing expenditure on option provision, allowances and Follow-Through.

Expenditure on the New Deal is, of course, planned over the Parliament as a whole and unspent resources in any single year are available for spending on the New Deal in future years.


Gender Impact Analysis

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which Government policies have been subject to gender impact analysis; and if the gender impact analyses are publicly available. [94504]

Ms Jowell: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are committed to ensuring their policies are fair and inclusive, of high quality and flexible. This aim is contained in guidance (published 1998) which helps Departments consider the impact of their policies on women and other groups, and is a cornerstone of the Modernising Government White Paper. It is for individual departments to consider how to make use of this guidance. There is no formal requirement to carry out a gender impact assessment for every policy or regulation, and the absence of a separate document does not mean that gender impact was ignored during policy making.

The Women's Unit in the Cabinet Office is working with the Home Office, and Department for Education and Employment to produce more comprehensive guidance for departments on equality impact assessment--to sit within the consolidated guidance described. In addition the Women's Unit is developing a framework for gender impact assessment.

The Government have introduced a wide range of policies clearly designed to meet the concerns, priorities and circumstances of women. These include the National Minimum Wage, Working Families Tax Credit and the Childcare Tax Credit, Sure Start and the National Childcare Strategy, the New Deal for Lone Parents and increases in Child Benefit. These measures help women make real choices in their lives.

Fight the Fog Campaign

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will make a statement on developments since April 1998 in the Fight the Fog Campaign. [95293]

Marjorie Mowlam: "Fight the Fog" is an internal management initiative within the European Commission. I wish it every success.

Further information on the initiative can be obtained on the Commission's website at

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