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New Deal

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what information he collates on the number and percentage of 18 to 24 year olds who leave (a) Gateway and (b) each New Deal option for (i) jobs lasting more than 13 weeks but less than six months, (ii) jobs lasting more than six months but less than nine months and (iii) jobs lasting more than nine months but less than 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [113676]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 9 March 2000]: We issue currently information, by Unit of Delivery, on participants who leave New Deal for a job and have not returned to claim Jobseeker's Allowance within (a) 13 weeks and (b) 26 weeks.

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Pre-school Education

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the average charge for an (a) childminder, (b) private nursery place and (c) local authority nursery place for children aged (i) nil to one, (ii) one to two and (iii) two to three years in each local authority. [114792]

Ms Hodge: The Department does not have information on child care costs in the detailed form requested.

Research commissioned by the DfEE last year, "Parents' Demand for Childcare", includes information on households' payments for child care. Among households with one or two children in England and Wales, the average hourly cost of child care was £1.93 per child. The cost varied between regions and was on average £1.62 in the north of England and the Midlands, and £2.22 in the south.

Nationally, registered childminders were paid on average £2.51 per hour and nursery provision on average cost £2.11 per hour. In the south, households paid on average £2.68 per hour to registered childminders and £2.52 for nursery provision. The survey sample size does not enable similar analysis for the north and Midlands.

In this analysis nursery provision covers all types of nurseries, including nursery classes, independent day nurseries as well as nurseries run by local authorities.

Employment and Social Affairs Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the outcome of the Employment and Social Affairs Council held in Brussels on 13 March; and if he will make a statement. [114906]

Ms Jowell: I represented the UK at the Employment and Social Affairs Council and the Standing Committee on Employment held in Brussels on 13 March.

The Presidency summarised preparations for the Lisbon Summit on 23-24 March which will focus on four themes: consolidation of the Luxembourg Process, modernising social protection, co-ordinating mechanisms for tackling social exclusion and dovetailing the Cardiff, Luxembourg and Cologne Processes.

The UK urged the Summit to focus on concrete outcomes and cautioned against setting EU level growth targets. The Presidency's strategic goals on the quality and quantity of employment and its concentration on social exclusion and lifelong learning were welcomed. The UK also called for measures to improve work/life balance and to promote investment in human resources, in particular through a European standard for investing in people and the further development of a European on-line learning and jobs bank.

As part of its contribution towards the Lisbon preparations, the Commission introduced its package of Communications on mainstreaming employment, combating social exclusion and social trends in Europe. The Commission called on the Summit to make a commitment to full employment and to adopt quantified commitments to increased economic activity, and decreased unemployment and poverty.

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The Presidency reported on progress in the negotiations on the Commission's package of measures to tackle discrimination under Article 13 of the Treaty. The Presidency aims to achieve political consensus on these proposals during its term in office.

ONE Service

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what measures are in place to assess the effectiveness of the ONE service in assisting people with a mental illness. [114674]

Ms Jowell: The new ONE service provides a coherent and seamless service for people of working age, by providing a single point of access for help in finding the best way to work, and help in securing benefits. All advisers in the ONE pilots have been trained to work sensitively with all ONE clients, and have benefited from the expertise of stakeholders, e.g. with experience of working with people with mental illness, who participated in the training process.

We will assess fully the effectiveness of the ONE service for all clients. As part of the ONE evaluation, we will be carrying out in-depth interviews with ONE staff and clients to examine the effectiveness of the ONE service in identifying and meeting the needs of individual clients, including people with a long-standing illness or disability. Where particular individual needs, such as those for people with a mental illness, are identified and have a significant impact for the ONE service this would be picked up in these interviews

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2000, Official Report, columns 791-92W, if he will make it his policy to collect statistics on the numbers of people with a mental illness attending ONE meetings and the numbers who subsequently gain employment. [114673]

Ms Jowell: The ONE service is built upon the principle of treating people as individuals, with their own unique needs, abilities and circumstances, and not categorising them as members of particular groups. ONE advisers encourage everyone to use their skills and talents to the full.

Further to my reply of 9 March, we are not yet in a position to provide information on the numbers of people with mental illness who are using the ONE service. The ONE evaluation database will capture information on ONE claimants receiving sickness and disability benefits and whose main disabling condition is 'mental and behavioural disorders'. This will enable us, in due course, to provide information on those in this group passing through ONE. However, this will only given an indication of the numbers of people using the ONE service who have a mental or behavioural disorder and have claimed a sickness or disability benefit as a consequence. It will not be possible to identify clients who have not claimed a sickness or disability benefit in respect of such disorders.

Student Support

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what are the criteria determining residence by a UK student in the various component parts of the UK for the purpose of student

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support; and if the circumstances determining such deemed residence can change during the course of study. [115009]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 16 March 2000]: The eligibility criteria are set out in the various regulations which cover the component parts of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) and are broadly comparable. To qualify for support, a student must normally satisfy three criteria on the first day of the first academic year of the course:


Exceptions to the ordinary residence requirement are made where the applicant, their parent or spouse:



    EU nationals (including British students) who have been resident in the EEA for three years, will be eligible for means tested fee support only.

Students who are recognised as refugees after the start of their course and students who satisfied the ordinary residence requirement but failed to satisfy the immigration requirement and who are granted exceptional leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom after the start of their course are entitled to student support for the remainder of their course.

Qualifications

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the relationship between the proposed foundation degrees and the higher national diplomas. [115001]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 16 March 2000]: The Foundation Degree is part of a deliberate strategy to diversify higher education to meet the differing demands of a knowledge-driven economy. Although it will build on the best elements of existing two year higher education provision, including Higher National Diplomas, this new qualification will offer a distinct combination of features. It will equip students with the employability skills, specialist technical knowledge and broad understanding needed in the new economy.

Higher Education Fees

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what obligation there is on higher education institutions to charge higher fees for part-time study to overseas students than to United Kingdom residents; if this fee regime applies to EU residents studying in the United Kingdom; and if the same fees regime applies to UK-national students whose home is in another EU country. [115002]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 16 March 2000]: There is no obligation on higher education institutions to charge higher fees for part-time study to overseas students than to UK students. Under our European Community Treaty

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obligations, other UK-based EU students must be treated no less favourably than UK students for tuition fee purposes. This also applies to UK and other EU nationals studying in the UK whose home is in another European Economic Area country.


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