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Mr. Hutton: We have embarked on a radical programme of modernisation to improve access to effective treatment and care, reduce unfair variation, raise standards, and provide quicker and more convenient services across the spectrum of mental health services. The National Service Framework for mental health, published September 1999, sets out general standards for treatment and care. In addition, the Allen Report 1989 and "Planning for Major Incidents: the National Health Service guidance" 1998 were issued to help those involved in the provision of support for people with post-traumatic stress disorder to identify psycho-social support, and disseminate messages about good practice. There is also current guidance relevant to War Pensioners (Health Service Guidance (97) 31) which says:
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people will not require long-term care, who would otherwise have done so, as a result of the Government's intermediate care programme in the NHS Plan. 
Mr. Hutton: Intermediate care is designed to promote independence, particularly for older people, who would otherwise face unnecessarily prolonged hospital stays or inappropriate admission to acute in-patient care, long-term residential care, or continuing National Health Service in-patient care. It is not possible to quantify precisely the number of people who will not require long-term care as a result of the development of intermediate care services following the NHS Plan. However, the initial evidence from several existing local schemes suggests a high success rate for short-term rehabilitation schemes set up
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with the aim of preventing or delaying admissions to long-stay residential care. The Department is currently considering proposals from a number of research teams for the evaluative research of intermediate care schemes nationally.
Mr. Wicks: Vocational GCSEs will be introduced in September 2002. They are part of our programme to improve work-related opportunities for 14 to 16-year- olds, so that those who want to can then go on to apprenticeships. The new system will raise the status of vocational study and bring schools, colleges and employers closer together.
Mr. Wicks: The vocational ladder will offer young people wanting to follow programmes of vocational study a clear set of steps that will allow them to progress to further and higher study, as well as being relevant to work. We have introduced vocational A levels, are reforming and extending Modern Apprenticeships and are introducing Foundation Degrees. The new vocational GCSEs, to be available from September 2002, will provide a qualification of the same standard as academic GCSEs.
15. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the scope of his Department's responsibilities relating to constitutional reform, with special reference to the balance of parliamentary representation. 
Mr. Wills: This Department is a member of one Cabinet committee and two sub-committees on constitutional reform, and may be invited to others as necessary. I am taking part in cross-party debates for young people run by the Citizenship Foundation, with devolved administration colleagues; the Prime Minister asked me personally to help foster a debate on what Britishness means in the 21st century. Other Departments are responsible for the balance of parliamentary representation.
Ms Jowell: From April, eligible people who enter full time work are guaranteed a minimum income after deductions of £180 per week for up to 12 months. This consists of the national minimum wage paid by the employer and the Employment Credit of £60 per week paid by the Government. With effect from 1 October this
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Ms Estelle Morris: I congratulate Essex heads and teachers on maintaining normal timetables in their schools, despite recruitment difficulties in some areas. Latest figures (January 2000) show the Essex teacher vacancy rate as 1.7 per cent. We announced in the Budget that a further £200 million would be spent on teacher recruitment and retention.
34. Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many representations he has received from local education authorities in outer London about shortages of teachers in the last twelve months. 
On 16 January, l met representatives of inner and outer London boroughs specifically to discuss teacher recruitment. Since that meeting my right hon. Friend has published his proposals for teachers' pay in 2001-02. These take particular account of the need to help local education authorities recruit and retain teachers, and include a proposal to increase the outer London weighting allowance by 30 per cent. He has also published a Green Paper, "Schools: building on success", containing proposals that will help recruit and retain teachers generally.
Ms Hodge: Since the New Deal for Lone Parents was introduced over 22,000 lone parents have benefited from help with training to improve their prospects of getting a job. Trained personal advisers can help find suitable work-related training that supports the work goals of the individual and takes into account their child care responsibilities. Lone parents also receive financial support to cover the costs. From April this year we will introduce a £15 weekly training premium on top of the existing help. And as we announced in the Budget, we will also introduce a self-employment option for lone parents similar to that which is available through the New Deal for 25 plus. We will also introduce greater flexibility to enable lone parents to take a wider range of intensive short work-focused courses.
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Mr. Wicks: We are well aware of Barnsley College's funding position. The Further Education Funding Council and the college are currently discussing the best approach to putting the college on a sound financial footing.
22. Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to bring spending per pupil in Worcestershire closer to the national average; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Estelle Morris: The Green Paper on the future of local authority funding made it clear that we want to remove the worst of the disparities that affect counties like Worcestershire, by levelling up not down. We will be working on this over the coming months, with the aim of moving towards a new system in 2002-03.
Jacqui Smith: Eight schools in the Exeter constituency have directly benefited from New Deal for Schools investment--Bradley Rowe Middle, Foxhayes First, Ladysmith Middle, Whipton Barton First, St. James' High, St. Luke's CE High, St. Peter's CE High and the Topsham School. In addition, 58 other schools outside of Exeter can be identified as having directly benefited from New Deal for Schools investment in Devon local education authority. A further 34 schools were included in packages which cannot be readily identified to individual schools from the Department's records.
Jacqui Smith: Some 17,000 schools have so far benefited from allocations to individual projects under the New Deal for Schools programme. Over the next three years, we are investing £8.5 billion, as part of the biggest school building and repair programme in decades. This includes devolving over £1 billion direct to schools. It will enable 650 schools to be replaced or completely refurbished and major repair and improvement projects to be carried out at over 7,000 schools.
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