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New Deal

Mr. Blizzard: 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. [155063]

Ms Jowell: 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.

Mr. Linton: 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. [154790]

Ms Jowell: 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)

Mr. Linton: 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. [154830]

Ms Jowell: 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.

Training Programmes

Mr. Dawson: 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; [155019]

Ms Jowell [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:

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Mr. Dawson: 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. [155021]

Ms Jowell [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.


Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what support is available to schools to reduce the levels of truancy. [155725]

Jacqui Smith: 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.


Mr. Gray: 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. [155335]

Mr. Blunkett: A reply will be issued today.

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