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European Social Charter

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will (a) list the recommendations of the August 2000 meeting of the European Social Rights Committee following consideration of the UK's 20th report on Implementation of the European Social Charter, (b) set out his response to each and (c) list the steps he plans to take to bring these recommendations to the attention of each of the institutions of devolved Government. [139727]

Ms Jowell: The conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights on the UK's 20th Report are not due to be published until 31 December 2000. We will then consider the Committee's conclusions and consult with appropriate Government Departments and devolved Administrations on any response that may be required within the further stages of the European Social Charter's supervisory mechanism.

Disabled Workers

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage of the work force were registered as disabled in (a) the UK and (b) each of the standard regions and nations of the UK at the latest date for which figures are available. [139776]

Ms Hodge: The introduction of the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 coincided with the abolition of the option to register as disabled under the provisions of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act, 1944. The data now collected by the Government include the number of disabled people as defined by the 1995 Act. The Labour Force Survey is used to provide a quarterly update of the number of people with a current disability as defined by the Act and their

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employment status. The 1995 Act has a more inclusive definition of disability than the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944.

According to the Labour Force Survey, (Summer 2000, UK), there are 5,506,000 people of working age with a current disability as defined by the DDA. They account for 15 per cent. of the total working age population and 43 per cent. of them are in employment.

National Curriculum

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will publish guidance for the equivalence of English and maths key skills qualifications within the curriculum 2000 programme up to GCSE Grade C. [138879]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 22 November 2000]: Yes. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has published a list of qualifications, including GCSEs, which exempt key skills candidates from the externally set tests in the key skills of communication and application of number. However those candidates exempted from the tests need to produce a portfolio of evidence demonstrating that they can apply and select the skills in order to achieve the full key skill.

Women's Social Attitudes

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the findings of the research into Women's Social Attitudes between 1983 and 1998 will be published. [140400]

Ms Jowell: I have published today the Women's Unit document, "Women's Social Attitudes 1983-1998". Copies have been placed in the Library and the report is also available on the Women's Unit web-site.

The Women's Unit is publishing the above report on secondary data analysis of the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey series (1983-1998) and the Young People's Attitudes survey (1994 and 1998).

The report provides invaluable, comprehensive information about women's attitudes, tracking continuity and change over time wherever the data allow this. It shows the impact of age, occupation, education, income level and motherhood on women's attitudes across a range of issues.

The topics reported upon in the publication are women's attitudes to: Government and Politics; Welfare and Social Security; Money; Paid work; The Family; Health and Genetics; Education and Science; Environment and Transport; the final chapter explores young women's attitudes.

Long-term Unemployed

Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to promote innovative and flexible approaches to connecting the long-term unemployed to job vacancies. [138356]

Ms Jowell: As a result of our economic and active labour market policies, the number of people aged 25 and over unemployed for 2 years or more has fallen by 63 per cent. since May 1997 and long-term unemployment

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among 18-24 year olds has fallen by 72 per cent. But there is still more to be done. The New Deals are a key part of our efforts to tackle long-term unemployment; innovation and flexibility are embedded in them. From April 2001 we will be introducing an enhanced New Deal for those aged 25 and over, which will be much more flexible to ensure that we can address the barriers faced by each individual. Alongside this new programme, we are also testing further radical approaches--for example Employment Zones, with their personal job accounts, and Job Action Teams which provide very tightly focused extra help for the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

We are also making a major investment to harness new technology to improve access to jobs information for all unemployed people. We have already introduced a new national telephone service, which enables people to access all the jobs on the Employment Service database, all for the price of a local call. We are introducing new touch screen terminals into Jobcentres. All Employment Service vacancies are already on the Internet, and early in 2001 we will be launching a new "Learning and Work Bank" Internet portal, which will link these vacancies to careers information and details of learning and training opportunities. At the same time we are setting up 700 UK online centres to bring internet access into disadvantaged communities.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on measures to bring the long-term unemployed into employment. [138385]

Ms Jowell: Tackling long-term unemployment is a key priority for this Government, and we are already making significant inroads: 2-year-plus unemployment among those aged 25 and over is down 63 per cent. since May 1997 and in the same period long-term (over 6 months) unemployment among 18-24 year olds has fallen by 72 per cent.

From April 2001 we are putting in place an even more intensive range of support for adult unemployed people, which will begin on the first day of registered unemployment and increase in intensity in proportion to the individual's labour market disadvantage. This help includes supported jobsearch, training for people with serious basic skills needs and those lacking soft skills, occupational work-based training and work trials with employers. An enhanced New Deal 25-plus will provide high quality intensive help for people unemployed for eighteen months or more.

New Deal Funding (South Derbyshire Schools)

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the impact of New Deal capital funding on the fabric of south Derbyshire schools. [138373]

Jacqui Smith: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State requires all local education authorities (LEAs) to assess and review completed New Deal for Schools (NDS) projects in the context of their Asset Management Plans, which are submitted to the Department for scrutiny.

Nearly £1.3 billion has been invested in New Deal for Schools--almost £80 million in NDS1; £230 million in

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NDS2; £320 million in NDS3; and over £620 million in NDS4. Thirteen schools in the constituency of south Derbyshire have benefited--eight from allocations totalling £3,877,861 and five from multiple school projects with total allocations of £1,565,649. For

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successful multiple school projects, we did not require LEAs to state how much would be allocated to each school.

The following south Derbyshire constituency schools have benefited from NDS funding.

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School nameProjectAllocation
Derbyshire LEA
Egginton PrimaryProvision of new temporary classroom Total Derbyshire LEA allocation
Church Gresley Infant and NurseryNursery £1,125,000 (NDS1)
Hilton PrimaryReorganisation--single site annexe rebuild
John Port SchoolComplete replacement of falling concrete panels£297,860 (NDS2)
Newhall InfantReplacement School£2,494,515 (NDS3)
St. George's CE PrimaryReplacement of temporary buildings£454,020 (NDS3)
Coton-in-the-Elms CE PrimaryPart of 9 school package for replacement of boiler systemsTotal allocation for package £121,000 (NDS4)
John Port SchoolEssential replacement window units for Hills Building£230,000 (NDS4)
Derby City LEA
Merrill CollegeComplete rewire£96,938 (NDS2)
Boulton PrimaryReplacement of temporary buildingsPart of 2 school package totalling £319,649 (NDS3)
Allenpark InfantRoof repair£57,255 (NDS4)
Shelton Infants and JuniorReplacement boilers£99,702 (NDS4)
Noel-Baker CommunityReplacement of temporary laboratory£147,571 (NDS4)

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Most NDS1 and NDS2 projects have been completed, but many NDS3 and NDS4 projects are still in progress or have yet to be started; it is too early to assess the full impact of NDS funding.

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