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Child Care

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many extra child care places for (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham and (b) Shropshire he estimates will be created under the expenditure announced in the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report; and if he will make a statement. [101140]

Mr. Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has announced that expenditure to assist further education students with child care costs will increase from £5 million this year to £21 million in 2000-01. These amounts add to the approximately £4 million a year which is already provided by the Further Education Funding Council. This increase includes the additional funding referred to by the Chancellor in his Pre-Budget Report. It is expected that in 2001-02 we will assist about 37,000 students. The funding will be made a ring-fenced element within the Further Education Access Fund and will be allocated to colleges through a formula which takes account of student numbers and widening participation factors. Colleges will be told of their allocation by March 2000.

8 Dec 1999 : Column: 587W

Special Educational Needs

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment which local education authorities currently include a special educational needs factor in their LMS formula based on a local SEN audit; and what are the comparative value of funds allocated for pupils through such a factor according to the stage in the code of practice they have reached, for each LEA for which information is available. [101835]

Ms Estelle Morris: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Teachers' Pay

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what process was used to allocate the contract for consultancy work on teachers' performance- related pay; and what criteria were used to select the successful contractor. [101396]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 6 December 1999]: In May, Hay McBer was awarded a contract to carry out research into the characteristics of effective teachers. Hay was uniquely placed to carry out this work because of its research and development associated with the Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers.

SSA (Leicestershire)

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what additional standard spending assessment for Leicestershire would be required if it was funded at the average for English counties for (a) primary and (b) secondary pupils based on the provisional standard spending assessment for 2000-01. [101444]

Ms Estelle Morris: The SSA primary education sub-block would need to increase by £6,629,130 and the secondary education sub-block by £6,403,760 in order for Leicestershire to be funded at the English counties' average.

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the estimated standard spending assessment funding is for (a) primary and (b) secondary pupils for Leicestershire local education authority based on the provisional education standard spending assessment for 2000-01. [101443]

Ms Estelle Morris: In Leicestershire for 2000-01 the provisional standard spending assessment for the primary education sub-block is £99.99 million, and for the secondary education sub-block is £103.63 million.

SSA Formula

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he last met the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions to discuss the current standard spending assessment funding formula. [101445]

Ms Estelle Morris: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State meets Cabinet colleagues regularly to discuss a range of issues including the standard spending assessment funding formula.

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Educational SSA

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the average standard spending assessment funding is per (a) primary pupil and (b) secondary pupil for English counties based on the provisional educational standard spending assessment for 2000-01. [101441]

Ms Estelle Morris: The provisional average standard spending assessment is £2,348 per primary pupil and £3,024 per secondary pupil for English counties for 2000-01.

SEN Tribunal

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the 1998-99 annual report from the President of the SEN tribunal will be published. [101954]

Jacqui Smith: The report was published yesterday and copies have been placed in the Library.

I would like to thank all those working with the Tribunal--the President, the members and the secretariat staff for their hard work and commitment over the past year. I am delighted that the Tribunal has maintained its targets for dealing with appeals while also handling an increased volume of such appeals.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people had their jobseeker's allowance stopped after an interview with job centre staff in each month of (a) 1997, (b) 1998 and (c) 1999. [101469]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 7 December 1999]: Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its Chief Executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Leigh Lewis to Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, dated 8 December 1999:



    You will recall that I replied to you, along very similar lines, in my letter of 11 March. In that reply I said that the Employment Service conducts many different types of interviews with jobseekers, starting at the new claims stage and developing as unemployment lengthens. The new jobseeker's interview is important in establishing whether jobseekers meet the labour market conditions for receiving Jobseeker's Allowance and it is normally at this stage that a Jobseeker's Agreement is drawn up and jobseekers are made aware of their responsibilities in order to receive Jobseeker's Allowance. Thereafter, entitlement to the Allowance is reviewed at fortnightly interviews. We also use these opportunities to offer jobseekers further advice and help in their search for work. Jobseekers are also asked to attend a Restart interview at regular six monthly intervals at which they are offered further advice and information about employment and training opportunities. Beyond this, interviews may take place for a variety of other reasons.

8 Dec 1999 : Column: 589W


    Questions about a jobseeker's entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance could arise at any of the interviews referred to above. In these instances there may be a reference to a Sector Decision Maker (formerly an Adjudication Officer) for a decision on benefit entitlement.


    Statistics on the number and types of decisions given by Employment Service Decision Makers on labour market questions are recorded in a quarterly summary--the 'Analysis of Sector Decision Making' (formerly known as the 'Analysis of Adjudication Officers' Decisions'), a copy of which is held in the Library. As questions about a person's entitlement can arise during different types of interviews, it would be misleading to compare the total figures of disallowances with the total numbers of Employment Service interviews in any given period. Jobseeker's Allowance claims can be disallowed on labour market grounds or other grounds . However, some broad indication of volumes can be given by comparing the total number of Jobseeker's Allowance new claims with the number of awards of "nil benefits". This means simply the number of Jobseeker's Allowance new claims that, following assessment by the Benefits Agency who are responsible for Jobseeker's Allowance payment, result in no payment award. This could be for a wide variety of reasons ranging from inadequate contributions to failure to meet the labour market conditions for receipt of the Allowance.


    Since Jobseeker's Allowance was introduced in October 1996, the number of claims processed and the number of nil awards by operational year has been:

Claims processedNil awards
7 October 1996 to 31 March 19971,280,960164,460
1 April 1997 to 31 March 19982,966,185470,047
1 April 1998 to 31 March 19992,833,977508,828
1 April 1999 to 31 October 19991,640,806292,697

These figures are based primarily on information held by the Jobseeker's Allowance Payments System. The figures for the period ending 31 March 1997 include a small number of claims held on the Income Support Computer System because they linked back to an earlier Income Support claim.

I hope this is helpful.



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