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Individual Learning Accounts

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people have taken advantage of individual learning accounts in (a) the UK, (b) Teesside Region and (c) the constituency of Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East; and if he will make a statement. [131209]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 18 July 2000]: From April 1999 to the end of April 2000 a total of 125,992 accounts had been opened through Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs). The national framework for Individual Learning Accounts became partly operational on 12 June 2000 since when an additional 8,000 Individual Learning Accounts have been opened with the national Individual

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Learning Accounts Centre. Tees Valley TEC have opened 4,682 Individual Learning Accounts of which 840 are held by people in the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency.

By April 2001 we aim to have 500,000 Individual Learning Accounts opened rising to a million by April 2002.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he has taken to promote Individual Learning Accounts; and if he will make a statement. [131208]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 18 July 2000]: Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) have been available locally through Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) in England and Wales since April 1999 and have therefore been promoted locally. A national framework for learning accounts has now been developed and a part service, where individuals and learning providers can register for the initiative, has been available since 12 June 2000. The national framework, operating a full service in England, will replace local accounts with effect from 4 September 2000. A total of 125,992 accounts have been opened through TECs by the end of April 2000 with a further 8,000 under national arrangements.

Since April this year officials from my Department have held more than 30 events with public and private learning providers to promote the introduction of the national framework. In addition, more than 750,000 leaflets setting out details of the national framework have been distributed since the part-service became operational in June. The leaflets have been sent to public and private learning providers, advice centres, partner organisations and members of the public. The Individual Learning Account website also provides our partners with regular updates and marketing information. We will build on this initial promotional work over the coming months by working, for example, with employers and trade unions, to ensure that those people who will benefit most from Individual Learning Accounts get the information they need.

Adult Education (Middlesbrough)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what funding plans he has made to improve (a) levels of literacy and numeracy and (b) IT skills among the adult population of Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East; and if he will make a statement. [131207]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 18 July 2000]: Government support to improve adult basic skills in Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East includes funding for family learning, which supports programmes like 'Story Teller' and 'Computers Together'. Additional funding for family literacy and numeracy announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment in May will mean that Middlesbrough LEA will receive funding for an additional 41 'Keeping up with the Children' courses, five 'Family Numeracy' courses, five 'Family Literacy' courses and 13 'Family Numeracy' workshops.

We recognise the importance of ensuring that there are opportunities for people of all ages to develop IT skills in areas such as Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East.

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That is why we have provided £252 million nationally to fund ICT Learning Centres. Within the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East areas we have received one full application to establish two centres in the Skinningrove area, and three expressions of interest for later phases of the initiative.

The Government have already announced an additional £37 million nationally for improvements in the quality and range of adult basic skills provision, including family literacy and numeracy, over the past year. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment plans to announce later this year the Government's full strategy to help adults with poor basic skills.


Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what recent discussions he has had with London education departments on truancy of school children within their boroughs. [131470]

Jacqui Smith: We are in regular contact with many local education authorities in London about truancy, and the disruption it has on continuity of learning and the wider social and community costs.

We have in place a range of measures to tackle truancy and improve attendance in our schools. Our Social Inclusion: Pupil Support Grant--worth over £500 million in three years--is providing practical support to local education authorities and schools. For 2000-01, London local education authorities will receive just over £26.5 million out of the grant to support local projects. Projects include electronic equipment to monitor attendance, additional staff to chase-up truants and reward schemes for acknowledging regular attendance.

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We are also encouraging local education authorities to undertake regular "Truancy Sweeps" in conjunction with the police. During these sweeps, truants are picked up from the streets during school hours and are taken back either to their schools or a designated place. Several effective sweeps have been undertaken in London with our support.

In addition, I recently announced the pilot areas to test the devolvement of Education Welfare Services to secondary schools. The aim is to see whether attendance officers employed directly by schools would make it easier to deal with truancy quickly. Of the 15 local education authorities selected, five are from London--Barnet, Camden, Haringey, Havering and Westminster. I am pleased that the pilot will be fully tested in London, in a variety of boroughs. We will be in regular contact with these authorities as the pilot progresses.

Windfall Tax (New Deal)

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what (a) amount and (b) percentage of the proceeds of the Windfall Tax allocated in the 1999 Budget to (i) the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds, (ii) the New Deal for the long-term unemployed, (iii) the New Deal for lone parents and (iv) the New Deal for the sick and disabled, for expenditure during the 1999-2000 financial year was (1) spent during that year and (2) carried forward for future years, indicating the reasons for underspend. [131216]

Mr. Blunkett: The following table shows the amount of windfall tax set out in the 1999 Budget Report allocated to the Department for Education and Employment, for the New Deal programmes shown, in 1999-2000 together with provisional expenditure estimates and carry forward.

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£ million
Provisional expenditure(1)
Programme1999-2000 allocationAmountPercentageCarry forward
New Deal for young people77528737488
New Deal for long-term unemployed2228036142
New Deal for lone parents(1)51346717
New Deal for disabled(1)129753

(1) Expenditure figures, while unlikely to change significantly, remain provisional until end year accounts are finalised and exclude a total of £86 million spent out of existing departmental provision

(1) 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

(1) Underspends are either carried forward to cover anticipated expenditure for respective New Deals into future years or made available to support the Welfare to Work programme

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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. That is one major reason why expenditure in 1999-2000 was considerably below the level of the original allocation. A second reason is the success of the New Deal for young people itself which also contributed to the level of expenditure being much lower than the original allocations.

The programme aims to help as many 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. Because of the effective performance of the Gateway in 1998-99, only some 45 per cent. of entrant were in fact moving into an option. The New Deal for young people did better still in 1999-2000, when this figure reduced to some 40 per cent. Fewer young people into options has the effect of reducing expenditure on option provision, allowances and Follow-Through.

Expenditure on the Government's Welfare to Work programme is, of course, planned over the medium term and unspent resources in any single year are available for spending in future years. Revised estimates were

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calculated at the time of Budget 2000, to reflect our latest assumptions about unemployment and what we have now learned from experience about the way the New Deal operates.

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