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Civil Servants (Salary Increases)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the average percentage increase in salaries of non-industrial civil servants, excluding members of the Senior Civil Service, was in his Department for 2000-01. [152797]

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Mr. Wills: The headline pay settlement was 2.5 per cent. on the pay bill. Staff in post received performance related increases averaging 4.1 per cent.

Youth Parliament

Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will meet members of the UK Youth Parliament to discuss with them proposals in the Parliament's manifesto relating to education and employment. [152963]

Mr. Wicks: I welcome the establishment of the UK Youth Parliament and congratulate the hon. Member on his role in promoting it. I attended the first sitting of the Parliament on 23 February and would welcome the opportunity to meet members again. I understand that the UKYP will be publishing its manifesto in April and I look forward to working with the Minister of State, Home Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) on the initial Government response.

School Computers (Wansbeck)

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many schools in Wansbeck are connected to the internet; and how many were connected in 1997. [153145]

Mr. Wills: The Department does not collect details about the numbers of internet connections at schools in individual constituencies. Substantial progress is being made towards the target of every school having access to the internet. Data from the Department's Survey of ICT in Schools 1996 are given, as the survey was performed bi-annually until 1998. The comparable survey in 2000 shows that the percentage of schools in England connected to the internet has increased as shown in the following table.

Percentage

SectorMarch 1996March 2000
Primary 586
Secondary4798
Special892

Ofsted Inspections (Tyneside)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many schools in (a) South Tyneside and (b) South Shields have undergone Ofsted inspections since May 1997; and how many of those have been subject to critical reports. [153298]

Ms Estelle Morris: HM Chief Inspector has advised that 72 schools in South Tyneside, including the South Shields area, were inspected by Ofsted between May 1997 and December 2000. Six schools were found to have serious weaknesses, one of which subsequently went into special measures following a re-inspection. Two other schools were judged to require special measures and one was found to be underachieving.

I have asked HM Chief Inspector Mike Tomlinson to write to my right hon. Friend enclosing a full list of the schools inspected and to place a copy of his letter in the Library. The inspection reports can be accessed via Ofsted's website at www.ofsted.gov.uk.

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Departmental Policies (South Shields)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the South Shields constituency, the effects on South Shields of his Department's polices and actions since 2 May 1997. [153092]

Mr. Wills [holding answer 13 March 2001]: Details of the effects of a range of the Department's policies on the South Shields constituency and on South Tyneside LEA have been placed in the Library.

Departmental Policies (Don Valley)

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to Don Valley constituency, the effects on Doncaster of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [153528]

Mr. Wills: Details of the effects of a range of the Department's policies on the Don Valley constituency and Doncaster LEA have been placed in the Library.

Departmental Policies (Jarrow)

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out, with statistical information, relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effects on Jarrow of his Department's actions since 2 May 1997. [153559]

Mr. Wills: Details of the effects of a range of the Department's policies on the Jarrow constituency and South Tyneside LEA have been placed in the Library.

Full Employment

Mr. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the Government's plans are for achieving full employment. [153896]

Mr. Blunkett: Today we are launching the Green Paper "Towards full employment in a modern society" jointly with the Treasury and the Department of Social Security. It sets out our plan for achieving sustained full employment over the next decade in every part of the country.

We will continue our crusade to eradicate long-term unemployment. The strong and stable economy provides a firm foundation for enabling job opportunities for all. Through the welfare to work agenda we have shown that the key to helping unemployed people back to work is making sure that they have the skills to be able to take up these opportunities. This approach has helped over 270,000 long-term unemployed young people back into work, and has helped see unemployment fall to its lowest level since the 1970s.

We will focus on helping people into work, but also to stay in work and gain the skills they need to progress in work. By raising the skills, employability and aspirations of those who need the most help, we are also providing insurance against a return to unemployment. People equipped with the skills employers need will find it much easier to get straight back into work.

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To help ensure that the economy can maintain its stability, we will broaden the scope of our welfare to work programmes to cover those who are economically inactive as well as the long-term unemployed. The Working Age Agency will transform the way in which we deliver support in finding work to all people of working age.

We are setting ambitious targets to deliver this agenda. Our vision is of a high skills, high productivity and high employment economy which makes the most of everybody's skills and experiences. This strategy to deliver full employment will improve the lives of millions of people, and will deliver individual and national success.

Working Age Agency

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what proposals he has to extend the use of work-focused interviews within the Working Age Agency. [153892]

Mr. Blunkett: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security and I are establishing, later this year, the Working Age Agency. This will bring together labour market and benefit services for people of working age and enable us to provide a more integrated approach for our customers.

As the first stage in the launch of the Working Age Agency, we will be introducing around 50 Pathfinder offices. A provisional list of their locations is set out in the following table. People of working age making a claim for benefit in these offices will be required to participate in a work-focused interview as an integral part of the benefit claims process and will be offered specialist support to help them into work. My right hon. Friend will shortly be laying regulations under the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 for this purpose.

WAA Pathfinder sites(5)

City/townNumber of pathfinders
Greenock(6)1
Port Glasgow(6)1
Livingston1
City of Aberdeen3
Bridgend2
Maesteg1
Pyle1
Porthcawl1
South West Birmingham3
Telford2
Madeley1
Wellington1
Wallasey1
Hoylake1
Blackburn2
Darwen1
Manchester Openshaw2
Halifax(7)2
Huddersfield(7)2
Dewsbury(7)2
Todmorden(7)1
City Derby4
Gateshead2
Felling1
Blaydon1
Birtley1
Exmouth1
Honiton1
Tiverton1
Sidmouth1
Chelmsford(6)2
Southend(6)1
Rayeigh(6)1
Willesden1
Wembley1
Kilburn1
Harlesden1
Winchester1
Streatham1

(5) Provisional

(6) ONE Basic Model Pilot

(7) ONE Call Centre Pilot


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HOME DEPARTMENT

Afghan Airliner Hijacking

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the people aboard the Afghan airliner hijacked to Stansted in February 2000 are still in the United Kingdom; what is the status of each of their asylum claims; and if he will make a statement. [153689]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 13 March 2001]: Of the 170 passengers who arrived on the aircraft, 81 returned to Afghanistan.

Fifty-one passengers claimed asylum (plus 26 dependants). Because of the exceptional circumstances of the hijack and the wider issues surrounding it, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary personally decided each of the asylum claims.

Of the cases which have been considered to date, four (plus 13 dependants) have been granted asylum. A total of 34 (plus five dependants) have been refused asylum, not 35 as was stated in my answer to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 5 February 2001, Official Report, column 439W. Thirty of the subsequent appeals to the independent appellate authority have been dismissed, confirming my right hon. Friend's original decision.

The appellants whose appeals were dismissed are entitled to remain in the United Kingdom pending the outcome of their appeals to the tribunal.

Twenty-four applications are yet to be considered. Twelve of the applicants are the alleged hijackers, whose trials began in January this year, and 12 are their family members. No decision will be taken on their cases until the outcome of the trial is known.


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