To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what mechanism exists for determining whether direct displacement of existing employees has taken place in firms participating in the New Deal. 
Displacement is monitored by a combination of macro-economic assessment and employer surveys. Recent research undertaken by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and the Policy Institute found little evidence of displacement. New Deal has already placed 274,000 young people and almost 70,000 older long-term unemployed people into jobs. Unemployment is at its lowest for 25 years and employment is at its highest ever.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many 18 to 24-year- olds in Battersea have entered (a) voluntary work, (b) work experience, (c) education and training and (d) unsubsidised employment through the New Deal in the last year. 
For the period January 2000 to December 2000 in the constituency of Battersea there have been seven starts to the Voluntary Sector Option and 17 starts to the Full Time Education and Training Option. 115 young people have started an unsubsidised job during the same period.
All New Deal options contain an element of work experience and training. There have been 29 starts to options during the year 2000.
Minimum Income Guarantee (Battersea)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people on the New Deal 50-plus in Battersea he estimates will benefit from the Minimum Income Guarantee from April; and if he will make a statement. 
For the Employment Service district of Wandsworth, which covers Battersea constituency, an estimated 100 people are likely to find work with the help of the Employment Credit between April 2001 and March 2002 and so benefit from the New Deal 50 plus Minimum Income Guarantee.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) if he will undertake a
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review of the contract awarded by the Employment Service for Adult Training for 1 April; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the number of chamber of commerce-run training programmes which are likely to close after the takeover of contracting arrangements by the Employment Service. 
[holding answer 22 March 2001]: 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 Mark Neale to Mr. Hilton Dawson, dated 22 March 2001:
As the Employment Service is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked Leigh Lewis to reply to your questions about the contracts which we are awarding for adult training from April 2001 and the number of Chamber of Commerce training programmes which are likely to close after the take-over by the Employment Service of contracting arrangements for the Government's Work Based Learning for Adults (WBLA) programme. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to Mr. Lewis as Chief Executive of the Agency. I am replying on Mr. Lewis' behalf.
It may help if I explain that the White Paper "Learning to Succeed" announced that responsibility for the Government's WBLA programme would transfer to the Employment Service from Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) with effect from April 2001. At the same time the Government has also taken the opportunity to redesign WBLA, in order to better align the training it provides with the needs of employers in each local area. The objective is of course to increase the programme's effectiveness in helping unemployed people to improve their employability and to secure jobs.
To deliver the best possible training provision of local relevance, the Employment Service ran a full scale competitive tendering round for contracts to deliver WBLA. At the same time, in order to ensure continuity of training for all those unemployed people who are participating in WBLA at the point of its transfer to the Employment Service in April, we have offered all existing providers contracts to support the completion of those courses.
Clearly, any competitive tendering round will result in winners and losers. I am aware of instances where organisations currently involved in the delivery of WBLA training programmes have not been successful in winning new contracts. I am however confident that, where this has happened, there are sound reasons for it. We have evaluated tenders submitted by organisations wishing to contract for WBLA using clear national criteria which are intended to ensure that successful tenderers are those organisations which can demonstrate the highest quality and who can offer our clients the best opportunities for progression into employment.
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In regard to the Chamber of Commerce training programmes, we are currently in the process of notifying those bidders who have succeeded in winning contracts and offering those who have not the opportunity to seek feedback on the reasons why other organisations have been selected ahead of them.
We do not as yet have a full picture of all the outcomes of the contracting round. That said, we are aware that Chambers of Commerce, like other organisations with a national presence, will have been successful in some areas of the country and unsuccessful in others. Where Chambers have not succeeded in winning contracts for the areas in which they currently deliver WBLA, they will have been offered contracts which enable them to complete training courses for those people who are participating in WBLA on 26 March 2001.
We appreciate that it will be disappointing for those organisations who have not won contracts. As an accountable organisation we will always respond fully and fairly when such organisations write to us to state their case. As I have said, I am confident that the contracting process has been properly conducted, but we would re-examine any individual case raised by an unsuccessful organisation. If we were not satisfied both that the contracting process had been fairly conducted and that the outcomes were reasonable in all the circumstances, we would take appropriate action.
I should however make clear that the Employment Service's approach is intended to ensure that those organisations who do succeed in winning contracts are those best placed to deliver the highest quality service for our clients and maximise their changes of finding work.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate provision is made for adult training in Lancaster after 1 April. 
[holding answer 22 March 2001]: The range and quality of training for unemployed people aged 25 and over is being enhanced across the country next year. We are investing £200 million in improving the New Deal 25 plus. From April it will provide flexible, individually-tailored help, including training and work experience, to all those who have been unemployed for 18 months or more. In England, a re-designed Work- Based Learning for Adults programme will provide a range of job-focused training for those who have been out of work for shorter periods of time. At the same time we are investing heavily in training to help those who need to improve their literacy and numeracy. Taken together, these measures will greatly improve the help on offer to adults who need to improve their skills in order to find work.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what support is available to schools to reduce the levels of truancy. 
Truancy has a damaging impact on the educational and life chances of children. We are determined to tackle it. Over the next three years we are investing at least £500 million in projects tackling truancy and school exclusion and other initiatives to get children back into school and learning. In addition, we are giving schools in Excellence in Cities areas funds to recruit Learning Mentors, who can directly help children at risk of truancy.
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To enable schools to reduce truancy further it is vital that they have accurate and speedy information to monitor attendance of pupils. Where schools have introduced electronic registration of attendance, independent evaluation has shown that truancy can be reduced by 10 per cent. in the first two years. I am very pleased to announce an additional £11.25 million from April 2002 from the Government's Capital Modernisation Fund to introduce electronic registration systems in schools for recording pupil attendance.
Our aim is to ensure that at least 500 secondary schools with poor attendance levels will be able to benefit from this additional funding. The extra money is an important element in our overall drive to reduce truancy in school and get all our children learning and preparing for adult and working life.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he will reply to the letter dated 7 February from Professor Rebecca Boden, a constituent, of Malmesbury. 
A reply will be issued today.