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Mr. George Howarth: The Government condemn the violence which occurred during the past week. The behaviour we witnessed on occasions was nothing less than pure vandalism and thuggery. We should, however, congratulate the security forces for their efforts to maintain order and uphold the lawful ruling of the Parades Commission.
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19. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the Parades Commission concerning the criteria it uses to determine parade routes. 
Mr. Ingram: The criteria used for making decisions are set out in legislation and in the guidelines and Code of Conduct produced under this legislation. It is for the Parades Commission to determine the appropriate factors to be taken into account, and to take the final decision.
Mr. George Howarth: The Government believe the main paramilitary groups are maintaining their ceasefires. There remains, however, a threat from dissident paramilitaries on both sides who are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr. Mandelson: Assembly Members resumed their positions quickly and Assembly procedures are operating efficiently. Two Bills--Appropriation and Members' Allowances--have already been passed by the Assembly and more legislation is expected to follow soon after the summer recess. The Executive Committee is now preparing its programme for Government. I have every confidence in the Assembly's continuing success and wish it well.
Mr. George Howarth: The Criminal Justice Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 was introduced in January 1999 and brought in a new juvenile justice centre order of between six months and two years, half of which is spent in custody and half under close supervision in the community. The Community element of the sentence is delivered by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.
A range of programmes for young people, both in custody and in the community, has been developed. Programmes such as cognitive behaviour training to tackle offending and the associated causes and problems such as drugs and alcohol misuse, car crime, aggressive behaviour and sex offending, have been developed on a multi- agency basis.
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Mr. Ingram: The early release of prisoners is dependent on the continuation of the current ceasefires. The Secretary of State is in constant touch with his security advisers and keeps the security situation continually under review.
22. Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to encourage links between schools in Northern Ireland, the rest of the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Mandelson: The Government are committed to the full implementation of the Belfast Agreement. The provisions for policing, criminal justice, equality and rights, prisoners and security are progressing with all due speed. The prospects for decommissioning are good. I am confident we will fulfil our commitment to implement the Agreement in full by June 2001.
Mr. Ingram: Figures on violent crime for the period April 1999 to March 2000 show an increase of 12.6 per cent. on the number of offences recorded for the same period during 1998-99. The total number of violent crimes cleared during 1999-2000 increased by 25.3 per cent. compared with the previous year. Overall the clearance rate for violent crime rose from 55.7 per cent. in 1998-99 to 62 per cent. during 1999-2000. The ongoing progress being made by the RUC towards moving to 'intelligence-led policing' will, it is believed, assist in tackling the problem of violent crime.
Mr. Ingram: During the three-month period of formal consultation on the Patten Report, and in discussions since then, Ministers have met a wide range of police representative groups to discuss the Patten Report and the future of the RUC. These have included retired officers, disabled officers, police widows and their families. Ministers have also received, and replied to, many letters from former RUC officers.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people aged over 50 years are eligible for guaranteed minimum take-home pay under the New Deal for the over 50s in Shrewsbury and Atcham; and if he will make a statement. 
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
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more and their dependent partners. The following table shows the number of people who are directly eligible for New Deal 50 plus. However, in addition, dependent partners of these benefit recipients may 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 who apply will be eligible for this important new support for people aged 50 or over.
|Shrewsbury and Atcham|
|Severe Disablement Allowance||(1)0.2|
(1) Numbers 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.
1. Income Support figures exclude claimants who also receive IB/SDA
2. IB figures exclude those persons receiving National Insurance Credits only
3. Jobseekers Allowance figure for June 2000
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the impact of the New Deals for (a) 18 to 24-year- olds and (b) lone parents in (i) Westminster and (ii) Kensington. 
Ms Jowell: The New Deal for Young people is aimed at people aged 18-24 who have been claiming unemployment benefits for six months or more. Claimant unemployment among this group has fallen by 56 per cent. since April 1998 when the New Deal was introduced. Part of this is due to the delivery of a strong and stable economy, but the New Deal for Young People has helped unemployment to fall even faster. The 56 per cent. fall in youth long-term unemployment compares with a fall of 18 per cent. in total unemployment, 23 per cent. in total youth (18-24) unemployment and 26 per cent. in the total number unemployed for six months or more. The effect of the New Deal is confirmed by independent research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
It is not possible to measure the New Deal effect exactly in each area of the country. However, in Westminster and Kensington the falls in unemployment among the New Deal client group have also been substantially faster than for other groups. In Westminster in the two years since April 1998 claimant unemployment amongst those aged 18-24, unemployed for six months or more, has fallen by 43 per cent. from 418 to 238. This compares with a fall of 16 per cent. in total unemployment, 25 per cent. in total youth (18-24) unemployment, and 18 per cent. in the total number unemployed for six months or more.
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In Kensington and Chelsea, over the same period, claimant unemployment among those aged 18-24, unemployed for six months or more, has fallen by 41 per cent. from 280 to 165. This compares with a fall of 23 per cent. in total unemployment, 23 per cent. in total youth (18-24) unemployment, and 28 per cent. in the total number unemployed for six months or more.
New Deal for Lone Parents aims to help lone parents in receipt of Income Support to improve their job readiness and help them take up paid work. Independent evaluation by the Institute for Employment Research suggests it has attracted substantial numbers of participants and secured very positive feedback from them. Analysis has also shown that after 18 months more people had left IS in NDLP prototype areas than in comparison areas.
It is also not possible to measure the effect of New Deal for Lone Parents exactly in each area of the country. Local information on NDLP performance is produced for parliamentary constituencies. Up to the end of April 2000, in the Cities of London and Westminster constituency, 95 lone parents had started on NDLP, of which 18 had moved into work, while in the Regent's Park and North Kensington and Kensington and Chelsea constituencies, 388 had started on the programme and 80 had moved into a job.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many (a) men and (b) women aged between 18-24 years have entered the New Deal within the Greater London Authority area to date. 
Ms Jowell: The latest figures to April 2000 show that 47,850 young men and 24,200 young women have entered the New Deal in the Greater London area. 27,470 of these young people have gained jobs which is a significant contribution to our being on target to meet the 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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