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Motor Industry

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives he is pursuing to safeguard jobs in the motor components industry which may be under threat from the sale of Rover; and if he will make a statement. [121727]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I remain in close contact with all stakeholders to ensure Welsh interests are considered.

The acquisition of Rover by the Phoenix consortium, which plans to maintain volume car production of existing models at Longbridge offers a welcome outcome for suppliers of the motor components industry.

The Wales Task Force has prepared a study on the possible impact on the Welsh automotive industry and is also undertaking a long-term strategy to improve competitiveness of the industry over the next five years. This was considered by the Economic Development Committee of the National Assembly for Wales on 6 July, who gave their approval. The Welsh Task Force will now concentrate on implementing the recommendations made in the report, through the establishment of a Project Management Board.

NHS Waiting Lists

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Secretary concerning NHS waiting lists, with particular reference to those waiting over a year; and if he will make a statement. [126974]

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Mr. Hanson: Both I and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State meet regularly with the Assembly First Secretary and the Assembly Health Secretary to discuss the Health Service in Wales.

The subject of waiting lists is, of course, of concern to us all and is therefore often included in our conversations.

In March, the Government announced an additional £1,299 million for Wales over four years as a consequence of increases in the NHS budget for England. The Assembly has decided this will all be spent on health in Wales and has invested £40 million from this year's allocation to help reduce waiting lists and address emergency pressures. In addition, they have recently set strict targets for Health Authorities to meet.

Staff Secondments

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which companies or partnerships have seconded staff to his Department since May 1997; how many have been seconded; and who pays for seconded staff. [128469]

Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department has paid for three secondees since May 1997, one from Chestertons Property Consultants, one from Eversheds, and one from King Sturge.

Information is not held centrally on secondees in all instances where their company continues to fund the employee themselves. There have been two secondees from Barclays Bank, and one from BT, where those companies have paid for their own staff, but there may be others who have not been recorded centrally.

Ministerial Code

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions since May 1997 Ministers in his Department have made a declaration of interest to their colleagues under circumstances envisaged in Paragraph 110 of the Ministerial Code. [129162]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Information relating to internal advice and consultation is not disclosed under Exemption II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

New Deal

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Secretary concerning the New Deal for lone parents; and if he will make a statement. [129502]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with the First Secretary on a range of UK Government policies including the New Deal.

The New Deal for Lone Parents was piloted in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan from July 1997 and implemented countrywide in October 1998. To the end of March 2000, about 10,800 lone parents in Wales had attended an initial interview. More than 10,000 of these (93 per cent.) agreed to participate in the scheme, which provides advice and guidance on finding and retaining suitable work.

To date, some 3,600 lone parents in Wales have secured jobs through the New Deal.

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Lone Parents

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what recent measures have been introduced to help lone parents achieve a better balance between work and family life. [127244]

Ms Hodge [holding answer 29 June 2000]: The Government's work-life balance campaign was launched by the Prime Minister on 9 March. Work-life balance describes any set of policies and practices that both help people to achieve better balance between work and their lives outside work and benefit the business.

The campaign aims to increase the number of employers who adopt work-life policies and practices. By introducing flexible working policies employers can increase job opportunities and recruit from a wider pool, especially from those with caring responsibilities, such as lone parents, or those with disabilities.

The discussion document "Changing Patterns in a Changing World" describes how we will take the campaign forward in partnership with an alliance of 22 leading businesses committed to promoting the business benefits of work-life balance. Our campaign builds on and complements the work of the National Work Life Forum.

Last month we invited employers to apply for our new £2.25 million Work-Life Balance Challenge Fund. Successful applicants will receive free consultancy advice about implementing flexible policies which improve both their business and help their employees balance work and the rest of their lives.

New Deal

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many participants from Dumfries and Galloway in (a) the New Deal for 18-24 year olds and (b) the New Deal for 25 year olds and over have returned to (i) Jobseeker's Allowance, (ii) other benefits and (iii) unsubsidised employment through the New Deal. [128468]

Ms Jowell: Latest figures to end April 2000 for the categories requested in Dumfries and Galloway are set out as follows. However, they are expressed as leavers from New Deal rather than returners as everyone starting either of the New Deals is already claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. We cannot therefore describe them as returning to other benefits or unsubsidised employment.

LeaversNew Deal 18-24New Deal 25+
Jobseeker's Allowance178446
Other benefits11671
Unsubsidised employment37968

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people are eligible for the guaranteed minimum take home pay of £170 per week under the New Deal for the over 50s (a) nationally, (b) on Teesside and (c) in the constituency of Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East; and if he will make a statement. [128638]

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Ms Jowell: New Deal 50-plus is a major new programme of personal advice, support and financial help for people over 50 who are looking for work. The programme is aimed at unemployed and economically inactive people in receipt of benefit for six months or more and their dependent partners. The table shows those people who are directly eligible for New Deal 50-plus. However, in addition dependent partners of these benefit recipients will also be eligible, as will be men aged 60-65 receiving National Insurance credits automatically.

The £170 minimum income guarantee applies to those people going into full-time work and additionally receiving the Employment Credit of £60 per week. It is not possible to say how many people will be eligible for the Employment Credit but our assumption is that about 90 per cent. of those that apply will be eligible.

Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance recipients aged 50 or over with a current claim duration of six months or more, as at February 2000

AreaIncome SupportJobseekers AllowanceIncapacity BenefitSevere Disablement Allowance
Great Britain1,725.398.2860.6135.9
Teesside (total of Unitary Authorities):19.71.913.81.2
Middlesbrough UA5.5--3.1*0.4
Redcar and Cleveland US5.0--3.9*0.2
Hartlepool UA4.0--2.6*0.3
Stockton-on-Tees UA5.2--4.1*0.3
Middlesbrough and Cleveland, East parliamentary constituency2.90.32.1*0.2


1. Numbers marked '

* 'are based on very few sample cases and are subject to a high degree of sampling error. These figures should be used as a guide to the current situation only.

2. Income Support figures exclude claimants who also receive IB/SDA.

3. IB and SDA figures exclude those persons receiving National Insurance Credits only.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many young people have found (a) non-subsidised jobs and (b) education, training or work experience through the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds, (i) nationally, (ii) on Teesside and (iii) in the constituency of Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East; and if he will make a statement. [128641]

Ms Jowell: The latest information, to the end of April 2000, is shown in the table. This sets out the number of unsubsidised jobs taken by young people through the

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New Deal and those who have benefited from education, training or work experience opportunities on the New Deal options.

New Deal for Young People

Unsubsidised jobsNew Deal options
Great Britain191,360168,900
Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East468550

We are on target to meet our manifesto commitment to help 250,000 young people into jobs through the New Deal. At the end of April we had reached a total of 216,200.

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